July 23, 2014

Crash Site of Flight MH370 has finally been ‘FOUND’

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Web sleuths from across the world have joined in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 by turning to the map search website Tomnod.

The online community has added to the confusion surrounding the 12 day mystery of the missing jetliner as people post possible sightings and new theories.

Even celebrities have taken to poring over satellite images uploaded to the website and offering up their suggestions as to where the plane might be.

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Investigators meanwhile probing the disappearance of the plane believe it most likely flew into the southern Indian Ocean, a source close to the investigation said today.

Courtney Love appears to be the most famous user of Tomnod after she posted a photograph of satellite imagery from the site on her Facebook page on Monday, and suggested: ‘I’m no expert but up close this does look like a plane and an oil slick.’

Elsewhere, users of social networking site Reddit have posted an image which they claim appears to show debris from the plane in the Strait of Malacca.

The area highlighted the same place where crew on a Greek-flagged oil tanker on Sunday responded to radio reports of suitcases found floating on the surface.

Users of Reddit have also suggested the scale of the potential debris matches that of the missing aircraft.

Another image to have gained attention appears to show a plane flying over a jungle, discovered by  a university student in Taiwan, according to Taiwan’s China Times.

DigitalGlobe has uploaded high-resolution satellite and aerial images to its Tomnod site that let people explore the seas for clues about the crash, as well signs of a wreckage or oil slick.

The authenticity of the photo by the Taiwanese student, also posted to Reddit on Sunday, has not yet been verified and online commentators have raised questions over the veracity of the image, with some pointing out it appears to be a different model to the missing Boeing 777. The plane also appears to have been painted white.

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The image surfaced at the same time as news emerged that Malaysian villagers claim to have seen the missing jet flying over the north east of the country at around the time the aircraft is thought to have made a ‘U-turn’.

At least nine people – tuna fishermen, farmers and villagers – in Kelantan in Malaysia have made reports to police about seeing lights in the sky and some said they heard the loud noise of an engine.

Similarly, residents of a tiny island in the Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives say they saw a plane with Malaysia Airlines markings in the early hours of Saturday March 8.

One said: ‘I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We’ve seen seaplanes but I’m sure this was not one of those.’

Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein however told a daily news conference today that the reports had been investigated by police in the Maldives and were determined to be untrue.

Investigators earlier told the New Straits Times that they were now convinced the aircraft flew low over the village, which is in the north east – exactly the same area where the villagers and fishermen in Malaysia who saw bright lights in the sky and heard noises on the night the jet vanished are living.

Investigators told a Malaysian newspaper that the Boeing 777 had dropped to a lower altitude – under 5,000ft – to avoid ground radar, using the surrounding terrain as a sonar barrier.

This type of flying is considered to be dangerous and risky, because it places tremendous pressure on the frame of the aircraft – and flying low at night without radar assistance could lead to the plane crashing into trees or mountains.

The first report of a ‘bright light descending at high speed’ came from Mr Alif Fathi Abdul Hadi, 29 who said he saw the light heading towards the South China Sea at 1.45am on the night the aircraft disappeared.

Businessman Mr Alif lives in Kampung Kadok, in the far north west of the Malaysian mainland, close to the southern border of Thailand – and the light he witnessed would have been several miles to the north of the flight path the jet was on before it vanished.

Lending credibility to the account by Mr Alif is the claim by fisherman Azid Ibrahim, 55, who saw a bright light streaking overhead at 1.30am on Saturday, about 100 miles south of where Mr Alif had seen the light.

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Mr Alif told said the bright light was the type that aircraft use when taking off and landing at night – like a car uses its headlights.

‘I was walking towards the rear of my house when I saw the light, and wondered where it was heading to,’ he said. ‘The airspace here is like a highway for aircraft and they usually travel in routine patterns.

‘However, the light I saw was moving towards a completely different direction. It was going towards the sea, near Bachok (which lies to the south of Mr Alif’s home).’

His description tends to indicate that if the light he saw was on the doomed aircraft, it had turned north instead of continuing on its regular north-easterly flight path.

Mr Alif said the aircraft he usually sees fly across the sky for as far as his eyes could see but the light he saw in the early hours of Saturday vanished from view behind a line of coconut trees.

While he thought nothing of it at the time, when he learned about the missing aircraft MH370 the following day he lodged a report with police.

Mr Alif’s account tended to coincide with that of fisherman Mr Azid who told the New Straits Times: ‘Usually, lights from an airplane look like distant stars at night but the one that I saw was big, as the aircraft was flying below the clouds.

‘I followed the light for about five minutes before it disappeared.’

Investigators probing the disappearance of the plane believe it most likely flew into the southern Indian Ocean, a source close to the investigation said today.

An unprecedented search for the Boeing 777-200ER is under way involving 26 nations in two vast search ‘corridors’, one arcing north overland from Laos towards the Caspian Sea, the other curving south across the Indian Ocean from west of Indonesia to west of Australia.

‘The working assumption is that it went south, and furthermore that it went to the southern end of that corridor,’ said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The view is based on the lack of any evidence from countries along the northern corridor that the plane crossed their airspace, and the failure to find any trace of wreckage in searches in the upper part of the southern corridor.

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