As the official search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 nears its apparent end, after a two-year, $122 million effort combing the ocean floor in a remote 46,000 square mile stretch of the southern Indian Ocean has turned up nothing, an independent, self-financed investigator, Blaine Alan Gibson, says that sightings of the runaway Boeing 777-200 over the tiny island nation of Maldives, previously dismissed as mistaken, may have actually been real.
If the sightings by multiple witnesses in the early morning hours of March 8, 2014 — the day the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 passengers and crew cut off all communication and vanished — were authentic after all, the final location of Flight MH370, as well as the prevailing theory as to why the plane went missing in the first place, would need to be completely reevaluated.
— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) July 20, 2016
Gibson, a lawyer turned world traveler from Seattle, Washington, discovered several pieces of aircraft debris on beaches in Mozambique and Mauritius, in the western Indian Ocean off the coast of southeast Africa, earlier this year. The debris, authorities have determined, is “highly likely” to have come from Flight MH370.
— WLP (@Bookofresearch) August 18, 2016
The independent researcher — who describes his private investigation into the Malaysia Airlines disappearance as a “quest” — has now teamed up with South Africa teenager Liam Lotter, who also found a piece of debris believed to be from the plane, to continue the hunt for further wreckage.
Gibson and Lotter explain their search in the following video interview, conducted by South Africa’s East Coast Radio earlier this week.
Maldives is a country of just over 390,000 inhabitants spread over nearly 1,200 small islands in the northern Indian Ocean, about 550 miles southwest of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
At about 6:15 a.m. local time on March 8, 2014 (9:15 p.m. the previous night United States Eastern Time), several residents of the Kuda Huvadhoo, an island in the southern reach of the Maldives archipelago, reported sighting a large aircraft flying at low altitude with a deafening noise, zooming from the northwest over the island.
Officials looked into the sighting, but dismissed the residents’ accounts, saying they had either seen a regularly scheduled, propeller-powered tourist plane, a private jet, or nothing at all.
“The Maldives government first claimed there was ‘no plane,’ then the plane was a ‘private jet.’ then fifteen months later a ‘domestic propeller plane flight,’ then back to ‘no plane,’ then finally to say it cannot be discussed due to ‘national security,” Blaine Gibson wrote in an August 12, 2016 report posted online (see link below). “And previously reputable international media have been readily willing to mop up and regurgitate each of those evolving claims.”
The official search team, led by the governments of Australia and Malaysia, also “debunked” the witness accounts as inconsistent with satellite “ping” data that appeared to show the rogue Malaysia Airlines on a course from the east, headed toward Antarctica and terminating in the ocean waters approximately 1,200 miles off the coast of western Australia.
That location would be roughly 3,000 miles by air from the sightings in Maldives — too far for Flight MH370 to make it without running out of fuel.
In fact, according to the August 12 Blaine Gibson report, the Malaysia Airlines plane would have been “nearing fuel exhaustion” by the time it reached Maldives — meaning that if the sightings there are authentic, the wreckage of the plane lies hundreds, even thousands of miles north of the current, official search site.
Read the complete Blaine Gibson report by clicking the link in the following Twitter posting.
— Ken S (@kstaubin) August 13, 2016
Gibson traveled to Maldives and re-interviewed numerous eyewitnesses who reported sighting the plane that day, and he came away believing that their reports were credible.
And even more startling, the witnesses say they saw the Boeing 777 take a hard turn to the south — which would indicate that someone, whether the pilot, a hijacker or another person, was at the controls.
Gibson as well as the official investigators have previously held to the belief that the Malaysia Airlines plane was a “ghost flight,” operating on automatic pilot after the passengers and crew were incapacitated by some on-board calamity, such as a fire or rapid, accidental cabin decompression.
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“This report makes no attempt or claim to prove that the large low flying jet plane seen over Kudahuvadhoo that fateful early morning was MH370. It merely sets the record straight that the jet plane that overflew Kudahuvadhoo has not yet been identified,” Gibson wrote.
Blaine Gibson wrote that he investigated claims of a propeller plane, or private jet, and found no evidence that either type of flight was anywhere over Maldives on March 8, 2014, a finding that coupled with descriptions offered by multiple witnesses led him to believe that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may indeed — for some mysterious reason — have made a low-altitude pass over Maldives that morning.
[Featured Photo By Joshua Paul/Associated Press]