Three possible pieces of debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 discovered this year on beaches in the west Indian Ocean did not just wash up naturally on the shores — but were “planted” there deliberately by a person or persons unknown as part of “a tightly focused military operation,” a prominent expert on the bizarre case of the vanished airliner wrote this week.
The debris fragments were found on the coasts of Mozambique and South Africa, all of them stumbled upon by tourists.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 with the serial number 9M-MRO — but better known as Flight MH370 — vanished on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Authorities believe that, for some reason, the plane took a sharp westerly turn after cutting off communication with the ground, and flew for more than seven additional hours, eventually crashing into a strip of the remote Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia.
But after 19 months of the Australian-led search team combing the ocean floor with high-tech sonar devices in that area, no evidence that the plane went down there has been found. Instead, five separate pieces of debris have washed up on beaches thousands of miles to the west, found by ordinary citizens.
Presumably, those debris fragments floated on ocean currents over the past two years since the assumed crash of Flight MH370. But independent investigator Jeff Wise, a science journalist and aviation expert who has published a book and numerous articles on the Malaysia Airlines mystery, noticed something odd about three of the debris pieces.
Unlike the first debris fragment, found last July on French-owned Reunion Island and pictured at the top of this page, which was covered with marine organisms — a phenomenon that occurs when objects float in the ocean for prolonged periods — the two pieces found in Mozambique and one in South Africa appeared to have little if any marine growth on their surfaces.
Wise consulted several marine biologists, who told him that the lack of organisms, or “biofouling,” indicated that the debris had been in the water for mere weeks or even days — well short of the two years that have elapsed since the presumed crash of Flight MH370.
Australian government scientist David Griffin also noticed the curious lack of “biofouling” on the Malaysia Airlines debris. But in a report, Griffin explained the anomaly by postulating that the fragments had washed up on their respective beaches some time ago, where the sun burned off the marine organisms — and then were somehow washed out to sea and back to the beaches a second time.
But Wise doesn’t buy it.
“One problem with this scenario is that while we might just about imagine a sequence of events happening to one piece, it seems incredible to imagine it happening to three pieces independently, in different locations and at different times,” he wrote on his blog Thursday.
Also, the process of washing back to sea then back to the beaches could not have taken more than two weeks, Wise wrote, or else marine “fouling” would have begun to occur again. But in the two weeks prior to the discovery of each piece, there were no weather events that could have taken the debris fragments back out to sea.
“There is only one reasonable conclusion to draw from the condition of these pieces… Since natural means could not have delivered them to the locations where they were discovered, they must have been put there deliberately. They were planted.”