The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappearance has so far proven to be nearly nine months of total, baffling mystery. But the Australian official in charge of the massive search effort underway to find the missing plane is so sure that the mystery will be solved soon that he keeps a special bottle of Moët champagne on ice, ready to pop the cork as soon as the vanished plane turns up.
In an interview in the Australian media Saturday, Peter Foley of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said that he believes that debris from the plane will soon be identified washing up on the shores of Indonesia — a country that search officials last month asked to be “on alert” for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris appearing on its shores.
In fact, Foley said, debris from the plane may have already appeared, but investigators have not felt confident enough to make a positive ID.
“Something is going to wash up somewhere on the beach, most probably in Sumatra,” Foley told News Corp Australia. “We’ve had many people handing things into the local police. We send it off to Boeing and they identify it, but as yet we haven’t positively identified anything from the aircraft. Personally, I think something eventually will be found.”
Foley believes that one of the main reasons no trace of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has appeared is simply that, after Flight MH370 vanished on March 8, searchers spent the first 10 days after the bizarre disappearance looking in the wrong place.
The initial search took place in the South China Sea, the area over which the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 was flying when it suddenly and weirdly disappeared from all contact with the ground.
But after more than a week, new satellite evidence revealed that Flight MH370 took an inexplicable westward turn and flew for about seven hours, ending up over the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the coast of Australia.
That area is where the search efforts have focused ever since. But Foley says that the valuable time lost at the beginning of the search made finding debris from what searchers believe is a watery crash site much more unlikely.
“We will find the answer,” Foley said confidently. “It’s important for the world to know what happened to this aircraft.”
Sir Tim Clark, chairman of Emirates Airlines, charged on Friday that officials actually knew exactly where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went down, but for some reason were actively covering up the truth.
But Foley said that there is a much more mundane explanation for why wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines plane has not been discovered.
“Things in the ocean take a long time to come ashore,” Foley said.
The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is scheduled to continue in the Indian Ocean well into 2015.