Investigators in Australia and Malaysia are expected to soon announce the results of their probes of ‘possible MH370 parts’ found off Mozambique – but already serious doubts are being raised by aviation and ocean experts.
If the parts – strongly believed soon after the announcement of their discoveries to be from the missing jet – are proved to be unconnected, then a new and disturbing scenario arises: trickery has been afoot.
In particular a large piece presumed to be part of a Boeing 777 flap fairing and bearing a stencilled code 676EB, which is stamped on that model of plane, would cast serious doubts on the MH370 investigation should it be found to be too clean to have been in the water for two years.
And already respected aviation writer Jeff Wise and marine biologists he has spoken to are suggesting today that the part found off Mozambique in February by US lawyer Blaine Gibson and the larger piece discovered by South African teenager earlier this month, also off Mozambique, could not be from MH370 because they lack evidence of long-term immersion in sea water.
In fact Mr Wise now concludes that ‘it is entirely possible that one or both of the Mozambique objects were never in then ocean at all.’
And he insists that it is incumbent on all the relevant authorities ‘to make public the details of a close examination of the parts in order to determine how these objects could have arrived in the western Indian Ocean.’
With a third piece recently discovered on Reunion being discounted as having come from the missing jet, it is now appearing that the only aircraft part that has been confirmed as being part of the plane – although a 100 per cent final confirmation is still being awaited – is a barnacle-covered flaperon found on Reunion in July last year.
As MH370 was the only Boeing 777 to be lost in the Indian Ocean region – ever – there appeared little doubt that the part found by South African Liam Lotter, with its Boeing identifying stamp, had to be from the missing jet.
But why is it so clean? No sand particles, no barnacles, no algae, no evidence of any sea life or growth whatsoever.
It has been suggested that Mr Lotter might have cleaned the part up, but biologists said there are too many tiny parts in the honeycomb linings for it to be so exceptionally clean. And a poster on Mr Wise’s blog says he has asked Mr Lotter if he had washed the piece and he replied: ‘No I didn’t clean it at all.’
Mr Wise points out that during a survey of debris in the Pacific, marine biologist Miriam Goldstein collected 242 objects and found that all of them had organisms growing on them, apart from two that were just one inch square.
Another biologist, Mike Gil from the University of Florida, also carried out a similar survey in the eastern Pacific and apart from minute objects ‘we didn’t find any clean debris.’
Photos of the Reunion flaperon and the Mozambique pieces show an extreme contrast, with the flaperon being covered in barnacles and the Mozambique parts displaying only clean surfaces.
Mr Wise, a former pilot, says that a comparison of the size of barnacles found on a boat that had spent eight months drifting from Australia to the western Indian Ocean island of Mayotte and the barnacle size on the flaperon suggests that the wing part had been in the water for between four and six months.
Another ocean expert spoken to by Mr Wise has also cast serious doubts on the length of time the pieces found by Mr Gibson and Mr Lotter could have been in the water.
Sam Chan, who studies invasive sea species at Oregon State University, estimated the amount of time the objects had been in the water ‘could be a couple of weeks. It’s certainly not indicative of something that has been in the water for multiple years, let alone even half a year.
‘If there’s no fouling, was it even in the water?’
Mr Wise’s findings on his latest blog has resulted in a flood of writers adding their doubts about the pieces found off Mozambique.
One writer, Ed Metcalfe, said that while he is not a conspiracy fan ‘this situation smacks of human intervention regarding the distribution of the debris.’
Another poster said that ‘it would seem there are few ways to explain the absence of biofouling that do not suggest some sort of human intervention.’
Only time will tell what the next step will be in this baffling aviation mystery.