Blaines Independent Investigation
Maps of possible northern and southern routes flown by Malaysian Airlines flight 370 as interpreted from the Inmarsat satellite data. Most experts and the official search authorities believe the plane flew south rather than north. However one year of searching the Southern Indian ocean has failed to discover any debris.
Putao, Kachin state, in the Himalayas of far Northern Myanmar near the Tibet and India borders. Special permit required. Nobody goes here. A beautiful remote place and a dead end to nowhere.
Ngapali Beach, Bay of Bengal, Myanmar
I wanted to go to a place where debris washes ashore and remains undisturbed. I have been combing beaches for a year to find anything that looks like it could be possibly be from an airplane. Currents and winds can carry floating debris to Bird Island from anywhere, especially from anywhere, Bay of Bengal, but also the Andaman Sea, and possibly the Indian Ocean west or south of there. Bird Island is circled. It is about a 30 minute speedboat ride west of Ngwe Shaun, a beautiful beach in Southwest Myanmar.
I took a boat and swam ashore to an uninhabited island named Nyet Zhong (Bird Island) off the southwest coast of Myanmar and made an interesting discovery ....probably nothing, ..but remotely possibly something....
We anchored the speedboat where the green dot is and I swam ashore. I combed the beach where floating items were carried by currents and winds and washed ashore. Mostly bottles sandals and cigarette lighters. But two items that were out of place caught my eye where the red marking is. 16.886600 degrees North, 94.271935 degrees East.
This could be from an air conditioner, a refrigerator or possibly from a vent from the interior of an aircraft, I picked it up cause it reminded me of that. This has insulation inside it. Again... from an air conditioner ... refrigerator ... something else... or the trim on the interior cabin of an airplane ??
Safely back aboard we leave bird island.
Kuda Huvadhoo in the Maldives.
This is where Abdu Rashid stood on March 8, 2014, at 6:15 AM, and saw a large jet plane fly towards him from 301 degrees northwest, past him to the corner of the island, and make a right turn heading south and slightly east (168 degrees). He could clearly see the rows of windows and red stripe on the white plane as it made its turn. He positively identified Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight 370 as the plane he saw.
Kuda Huvadhoo in the Maldives. March 8, 2014, the same day Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared, at 6:15 AM Abdu Rasheed witnessed a large jet plane fly low towards him from the northwest at 301 degrees (plane flying bearing 121), and upon reaching the corner of the island executing a right turn and head south and slightly east at a bearing of 168 degrees. I interviewed him to learn the details as few others have, and took compass bearings as he described the movement of... the plane.
As the plane turned he could clearly see the row of windows and distinct red stripe and knew it was a passenger jet. After looking at pictures of different planes he positively identified Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight 370 as the plane he saw. He is a court reporter and a very credible witness who has told the same story consistently from day one. Many other witnesses saw the plane that morning and even more heard it. Their testimony is consistent with his, however he got the best look at it and its flight path. Kuda Huvadhoo is a remote atoll and they almost never see large planes fly overhead, and never that loud and low. All they normally see are seaplanes. No international search officials or investigators have traveled there to speak to these witnesses. Nobody has ever identified the plane these witnesses saw.
The area was never searched for wreckage or survivors in spite of the fact these witnesses reported their sighting the day flight 370 went missing. Their testimony has been disregarded because it does not fit the Inmarsat satellite data interpretation that experts believe puts the plane in the Southern Indian Ocean, and experts estimate the plane should have run out of fuel slightly before the time it was sighted. But experts have been wrong before, and in 15 months of searching they have still not produced a single piece of that plane. So maybe its time to start talking and listening to these people in the Maldives, as I have been since March last year.
On the beach in Kuda Huvadhoo with Abdu Rasheed and my Divehi translator.
The plane came from right over the island on the left traveling northwest to southeast at a bearing of 121, then upon reaching the corner of Kuda Huvadhoo turned south at a bearing of 168 degrees. Abdu Rasheed had the best view of the plane's approach and turn, and clearly saw the row of windows and distinct red stripe. The bearings and especially this turn counters my original theory I held in march a year ago that MH 370 was a ghost plane flying on after an emergency. This was a deliberate turn heading south.
Humaam Don saw the plane early morning March 8 from in front of his house in the town of Kuda Huvadhoo. He heard a loud noise from the northwest and ran to look up and saw the plane fly low in front of him then away from him. He saw mostly blue and white on the plane with some red. He also saw white steam coming from the plane. He is pictured in front of his house where he saw the plane, and on the beach where Abdu Rasheed saw the plane
We traveled from Male to Kuda Huvadhoo by speebboat. We were warmly welcomed by the residents of this remote atoll. We returned to Male by seaplane. I spoke with our captain about Malaysia Air 370. I asked him if Maldives radar would have detected a plane, and he said maybe, should have, unless it was flying low to escape detection. I asked him if it would be possible to ditch a 777 in these calm waters, and he said very difficult, but possible, with some damage. I asked him ...if it would be possible to ditch a Boeing 777 intact in the Southern Indian Ocean. He replied that with the waves there "impossible. It would break apart." Spoken by a man who lands planes on water for a living. After our talk he did a special flyby of Kuda Huvadhoo for me to see and photograph, even though it was south and a little out of the way. He did that for all those on board flight 370 and all those who care. Thank you Captain Rifath Yoosuf.
Low flying plane sighting about 100 kilometers north of Trivandrum India - Dr Kv Ranjit reports seeing a low flying passenger plane over his village at 9 am March 8, 2014. The plane was flying north to south at an altitude of about 2000 to 3000 meters. It was white to silver with reddish hue glistening in the early morning sun. The plane was almost directly overhead and windows were partially visible. He says planes never fly there that low, and he believes he saw Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Others saw the plane at the Shivaparavathi temple, although they are understandably not clear on the date, and say about a year ago. Subin, the 14 year old boy, heard a very loud noise at saw the plane flying north to south pointing to a bearing of 192 at 9:00 in the morning
The plane was directly overhead and was emitting slight steam. The plane was a silver metallic color, and he points to a vase the same color in the picture. Humaam Don standing where he saw the plane, how big it was to his eye, and the fact that it was just above the wall behind him, gives a clue to its altitude. Radha and her daughter Praethi saw the plane fly overhead making a loud noise and pointed to a bearing of 200 (S/SW). They had never seen anything like that before or after. The children were very scared and to calm them down their parents told them the plane was coming to bring them gifts.
MH 370 MALDIVES SIGHTING: REFLECTIONS and CONCLUSIONS
In the early morning of March 8, 2014 the residents of Kudahuvadhoo definitely saw a plane that fit the description of MH 370. They did not make it up. Abdu Rasheed, an employee of the Court, had the best view of the plane. The plane approached him at 6:15 AM from the northwest and flew on a bearing of 121 degrees towards the island, and upon reaching the southwest corner executed a deliberate turn heading South/SE at a bearing of about 168 degrees. As it turned he saw it was a mostly white plane with a long row of windows and a red stripe. When shown pictures of different planes he positively identified MH 370 as the plane he saw. Other witnesses testimony is consistent with his based on the angles they saw it. Humaam Don heard a loud noise and saw a white plane with blue and some red markings as it flew by and away from him towards the southeast. He also noted "slight steam" coming from the plane. Other witnesses reported the loud noise and reported a white plane, sometimes with varying degrees of red and blue on it. When shown a picture of MH 370 (together with other planes) they said looked like it, or could be. Time estimates ranged from 6:15 to 7:00, but the witness who saw it the best said 6:15. The witnesses live on a flat atoll and are not used to seeing planes, so they would not even venture a guess as to the altitude. However based on where they pointed, the angles, and their descriptions, and my own experience observing jets landing and taking off at airports, I would guess the altitude was about 500 to 900 feet.
The Maldives Defence Force was wrong when they said there was no plane. This had the unfortunate effect of making some witnesses afraid to speak, especially the older women. While some may argue this was part of some big cover-up, it could simply be that they were embarrassed by their poor radar coverage. When I asked pilots about the civilian and military radar coverage in the southern Maldives I was told it was very poor. I asked one if radar would have detected MH 370 if it flew over Kudahuvadhoo, and he answered with a clear NO. Another pilot answered maybe... unless it was flying low. Another person said the radar at the southern airports was only switched on and monitored when there were scheduled airplanes taking off and landing, which was not the case that early in the morning.
So what was the identity of this plane?? Everybody has confirmed that large planes never fly that low over Kudahuvadhoo. It was not a regularly scheduled flight. No regular flights were flying in that region until later that morning.. My interview with a Maldivian pilot confirms that Kudahuvadhoo is not on the approach to any airports. When planes fly from Male to Gan they fly to the east of Kudahuvadhoo at an altitude of 22,000 feet. Only one Kudahuvadhoo resident (Sufi pictured with the fish) reported ever seeing jet planes flying overhead, but at a much higher altitude, only once or twice a month, and he believed them to be passenger planes flying from the Middle East to Australia, but could not be sure.
In order to dispense with the Maldives sighting critics love to say it was a "private jet". However neither the Maldives Defence Force, who coined the phrase (after first claiming there was no plane at all), nor anyone else, had ever identified this large "private jet". My interviews with Male International Airport workers confirm that it was definitely NOT the Boeing 747 belonging to the then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. His white plane with the green Saudi monogram dropped him off in Male, went back immediately, and picked him up later. It flew nowhere near Kudahuvadhoo. Maldives Immigration confirms that Prince William and Kate arrived Male airport March 6 on a regularly scheduled British Airways flight, and did not have a large private jet at their disposal in the Maldives. So both of those early and persistent rumours and internet disinformation are false.
Could it have been a military plane? Remotely possible, but military planes have never been seen flying low over Kudahuvadhoo before or after. And what military planes are that large with a long row of windows and a red stripe, and what would they be doing violating Maldivian airspace and buzzing an insignificant atoll only on that one morning ?
So could it be that they saw MH 370? Yes it could. However for that plane to have been MH 370 the Inmarsat data interpretation would have to be wrong...whether it be the northern arc toward Kazakhstan or the southern arc to the South Indian Ocean. Additionally, the Maldives sighting occurred about 30 to 60 minutes after the plane would be expected to run out of fuel based on the reported fuel load from KL and the final ACARS fuel reading. So if those readings are correct, MH 370 would have to be on its very last gasps of fuel. Of course those records could be wrong, or the plane could possibly have landed and refuelled. The Kudahuvadhoo sighting is inconsistent with the eyewitness report of Mike McKay, but consistent with many eyewitness reports from fishermen and others on both sides of the Malay Peninsula, including Kate Tee far off the coast of Phuket.
I asked local Kudahuvadhoo fishermen and others if they had found any debris or personal effects that could be from a plane crash, and they said no. And in Kudahuvadhoo they were keeping their eyes open. I spoke with people in Male about the fire extinguisher that washed ashore in the north. They heard from the press that it was handed over to local police, and they assumed then given to the Maldives Defence Force, but never heard anything more about it, and have no idea of any tests, investigations, or determinations were ever made. I was unable to learn anything about an early rumour that some fishermen had seen or heard something resembling a plane crash at sea, and since Kudahuvadhoo is a very small place that fact alone leads me to believe the rumours were incorrect. However I have asked my friends there to inquire and keep me informed.
The most astounding thing to me is the miniscule number of people who have travelled to Kudahuvadhoo to investigate and report. Initially the local police took reports and according to residents, filed them away. The Maldives Defence Force paid an early visit to interview the witnesses, , and then at first said they made it up, ridiculed them, and told them if they wanted to help find MH 370 to go to Kazakhstan or the South Indian Ocean. All the early interviews by the Maldivian news were done by telephone...no reporters actually bothered to go there. According to witnesses and people in the hotel and guide business, no foreign search authorities or investigators ever went there. The only foreigners to go there were me, two French reporters a few months ago, two Australian reporters in February this year, and a Frenchman named Marc. I asked if the private investigator hired by the passengers' families went there to interview people, and they said no. Yet that independent investigator somehow concluded that the plane seen was a "private jet", parroting the same phrase used by many others. I would very much like to know the basis of that finding. I would not dismiss credible eyewitness testimony and claim they say a "private jet" unless I had positively identified the private jet. That is not how I conduct my amateur investigations with my own money ... let alone a professional one with somebody else's.
After my recent visit to Kudahuvadhoo I am more convinced than ever of the credibility of these witnesses and their sighting, and I personally believe, but am not yet totally convinced, that they saw MH 370. My original theory was that MH 370 encountered an emergency, and set a course for Penang or Langkawi to make an emergency landing, the flight crew was overcome, and the plane continued on its course as a ghost plane to be seen in Kudahuvadhoo. However my simple Occam's Razor theory is disproven by the timing and direction, as a ghost plane would have flown in a straight line and arrived earlier. Most of all, it is disproven by the deliberate right turn upon reaching the atoll to head almost due south, which I never saw in any press report or forum discussion, and I believe the first reporter or foreigner to discover it was me.. I never believed before that MH 370 landed or was attempting to target Diego Garcia in a 9/11 style terror attack. However I cannot deny and must report the fact that upon reaching Kudahuvadhoo, whatever that plane was, for whatever reason, made a deliberate turn and headed on a bearing in the direction of that secretive military island. I still have not formed a clear theory as to what happened to MH 370 and its passengers and crew. I am looking for more evidence to form and hopefully confirm one. I hope that others in this forum, and most important the search authorities and officials and governments involved will also be willing to question their own pet theories, and not myopically focus solely on the search in the Southern Indian Ocean. More important, I hope they do not jump to conclusions and rely on a pilot suicide theory based on little or no evidence simply because it is a quick and easy explanation.
In spite of my belief in the Kudahuvadhoo sighting, I definitely believe the search in the Southern Indian Ocean should continue, because there is some satellite data interpretation and contrail evidence that MH 370 went there. However the SIO search must not be based on the oft cited but incorrect assumption that MH 370 could not have followed the northern arc or gone west because the radars of numerous different countries would have detected it. During my travels my interviews with officials, air traffic controllers, and pilots have demonstrated that those assumptions are false regarding radar capabilities in Myanmar, Laos, and the Maldives. Indian radar capabilities in the Andaman Islands were damaged by the tsunami, and even if fully restored are normally switched off at night to save power. I have received separate confirmation of these findings relating to the entire region from an additional separate reliable source. Thailand claimed after the fact to have spotted MH 370 as it crossed the Malay peninsula, but paid no attention to it at the time, so their radar capability is questionable. The reality is that radar usually fails to detect planes flying low, and many countries don’t pay attention to planes flying high above their airspace, if they even notice them at all. Many countries have very limited radar and turn it off at night when planes are not flying in and out. Malaysia claims to have tracked MH 370 to the Andaman Sea, however from there MH 370 could have flown west to the Maldives or north into Tibet undetected, as there is no radar in Northern Myanmar. I have also spoken with an Indonesian pilot who says that Indonesian radar would NOT have detected MH 370 if it flew straight over North Sumatra at that time of night, so it need not have taken the radar evasive manoeuvres around the island that the Malaysian officials and search authorities claim it did. The search in the SIO should be based only on evidence, of which some exists, but not on false assumptions. such as radar permeability to the north west and south,...which is a myth. Therefore, I feel strongly that other evidence and search areas and scenarios must also be considered, investigated, and pursued.
Blaine Alan Gibson