The worker, Michale McKay, sent an email to his employer that was then forwarded to the Vietnamese government, saying he saw what appeared to be a plane burning -- all in once piece -- flying perpendicular to the normal flight paths, and lower, than the planes he usually sees overhead.
"I believe I saw the Malaysian Airlines plane come down," McKay said. "The timing is right."
"From where I first saw the burning (plane) until the flames went out (still at high altitude) was 10-15 seconds," McKay, a New Zealander, said. "There was no lateral movement, so it was either coming toward our location, stationary (falling) or going away from our location."
Vietnamese officials confirmed they received the letter, reports ABC's Bob Woodruff, but said they found nothing in the water.
Since Flight 370 disappeared Saturday, a massive search has turned up few clues to where it might have gone, or what caused it to vanish. Since it became apparent the plane had turned around after its last communication with ground control, flying south west instead of continuing North East on its intended flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, officials have expanded the search to include the Strait of Malacca.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government said one of its satellites spotted possible debris that may have been part of the plane.
.@ABC spoke with Richard Beaton w/Japanese Idemitsu Oil & Gas Co who hired Songa Mercur to drill & confirms email of Michael Mckay is real— Bob Woodruff (@BobWoodruff) March 12, 2014
Vietnamese officials received email from oil rig worker who says he spotted burning object off the coast of SE Vietnam @GMA— Bob Woodruff (@BobWoodruff) March 12, 2014