On Thursday an urgent search of waters halfway to Antarctica turned up little more than a passing ship and pods of dolphins.
But investigators say grainy four day old satellite images could show floating parts of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
"Just maybe this is the first tangible evidence that we've got of what might have happened," said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
High-tech search planes from the U.S. and Australia are racing to track the objects down. One piece of debris believed to be 78 feet long.
A Norwegian car carrier arrived in the area to help, but Navy ships with sonar are still several days away.
"The issue is to find debris that could be identified as the aircraft and then work all the current wind data backwards to predict about where that airplane was when it impacted the water," said former NTSB investigator Tom Haueter.
It's possible the debris is unrelated to the plane. But U.S. experts say those satellite pings from the jet have led them to this area.
"We'd like to find something to give a bit of closure and answers to the family and relatives of the people on board the Malaysia Airlines flight," said Lt. Ian Colling with the Royal Australian Air Force. "But if we don't find something as well, there's always hope that maybe the aircraft is somewhere else and they're safe and sound."
Families of the missing are clinging to that hope during what's been an agonizing and exhausting wait.
"I've been holding out that the passengers are still alive," said missing passenger Philip Wood's girlfriend, Sarah Bajc. "I believe that Philip is still alive. And if that is parts of the plane then that kind of dashes that hope."
Now almost two weeks after the plane disappeared, U.S. officials tell us it's still possible wreckage may never be found. But they're still optimistic.