A bizarre new claim of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 wreckage discovered in the Philippines was under investigation by authorities there Monday, as police in Malaysia are trying to figure out what to make of the report — a report of wreckage that supposedly includes human bones, possibly the remains of the missing Boeing 777-200's pilot, still strapped into his seat with a buckled seat belt.
The claim, for which there has not yet been any photographic evidence, comes five weeks after French experts confirmed that a piece of an airliner wing that washed up on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean — a section of the wing known as a Flaperon — did indeed come from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
The flaperon was the first and so far only confirmed trace of the plane discovered since Flight MH370 vanished from radar and cut off ground communication on March 8, 2014, while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to the Chinese capital of Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
While investigators were able to use sparse satellite data to figure out that the Malaysia Airlines plane inexplicably took a sharp westerly turn and flew for seven more hours, ending up in the remote Indian Ocean, what happened to the plane and why it veered off course, in what appears to be a deliberate act, remains a total mystery.
Reunion Island is nearly 5,000 miles southwest of the Philippines, where the latest claims of MH370 wreckage surfaced this weekend.
According to a report in the Malaysian newspaper the Star, the strange new wreckage claim comes from a man in the southern Philippines province of Tawi Tawi. The man, identified as Jamil Omar, is said to be an audiovisual technician in his 40s who was out hunting birds with a nephew when they came across the airplane wreckage.
They approached the wreckage, they said, according to a Star report, when they saw that it contained not only a Malaysian flag but skeletal human remains. In addition to the bones found around the wreckage, when they got closer, they saw what appeared to be the cockpit of the Boeing 777-200 — with more skeletal remains in the pilot's seat, with the seat belt still fastened.
The macabre discovery was allegedly made sometime in early September, but the audiovisual technician made his report to police about his alleged find only this Saturday, October 10.
If the report is true, it would appear to indicate that the plane actually crashed in or near the Tawi Tawi region of the Philippines — a possibility that has left police and military investigators there baffled, because they have found no one in the area who claims to recall a plane crashing there.
"We will check it out but if there is any aircraft that has gone down in our area there would have been alerts from civil aviation authorities... To date, there has been none."
A Philippines Navy Captain now investigating the Flight MH370 wreckage claim also finds it puzzling — and says that residents of the area where the wreckage claim was made are also confused by the report.
"So far, our questionings have determined that island residents have no knowledge of (a plane crashing in their locality)," said Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo to The Manila Bulletin on Monday. "They were surprised by this report and were asking us on where it came from."
[Featured Image: Laurent ERRERA from L'Union, France [CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons]