MH370 debris found in waters with treacherous currents: hotel owner

JOHANNESBURG -- The Mozambican sandbank where a possible piece of a missing Malaysian airliner was found is in waters with treacherous currents and is not normally visited by tourists, a hotel owner said Friday.

See Full Article

Tony Manna, who owns a beachfront hotel in the Mozambican town of Vilankulo, said American adventurer Blaine Gibson was a guest at Manna's lodge, the Varanda, when he discovered debris that could be a piece of tail section from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8, 2014 with 239 people aboard.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Manna said he connected Gibson with a boat operator nicknamed "Junior," who took the American to the Paluma sandbank and first spotted the debris there.

The location is "not even an island, it's a sandbank in a dangerous area" that can only be reached by experienced mariners who know the waters, Manna said. Fishermen sometimes go there to collect rope and other washed up debris that might be useful for their work, he said.

The Boeing 777 flew far off course for unknown reasons after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, 2014. An ongoing search of the southern Indian Ocean has found no trace of the plane, though a wing part from the aircraft washed ashore on Reunion Island last year.

Gibson said in an interview with the AP on Thursday that he initially thought the piece that he and the boat operator found was from a small plane, and not from the missing airliner. Gibson, who is from Seattle, said the debris is with civil aviation authorities in Mozambique, and that he expects it to be transferred to their Australian counterparts.

Manna described Gibson as a sincere man who is also somewhat eccentric. He recalled that Gibson was emotional after the discovery of the debris.

"I was happy because maybe that little piece can give some peace to all those families" of the people who were aboard the missing airliner, Manna said.

Gibson, who is from Seattle, said the piece of debris is now in the hands of civil aviation authorities in Mozambique, and that he expects it to be transferred to their Australian counterparts.

On Friday, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's chief commissioner Martin Dolan, who is heading up the search for the plane off Australia's west coast, said the part should arrive in the nation's capital, Canberra, early next week. It is being taken to Australia rather than Malaysia because the ATSB has facilities set up for examining aircraft wreckage and trained technical staff on hand to help, he said. The part will be analyzed by multiple people, including ATSB materials failure experts, with Boeing representatives and the Malaysian investigation team giving advice.

Investigators hope that once the part arrives, they will be able to confirm whether or not the piece is from Flight 370 within a matter of days, Dolan said.

"All that we know is that it's a piece from an aircraft. It's sufficiently similar to a part from a large passenger aircraft, possibly a 777, for us to want to take a close look at it," Dolan told the AP. "At this stage, we have no conclusive evidence as to what it is or where it comes from."

Even if confirmed to be from Flight 370, Dolan said it was too early to speculate on whether the part could shed any light on what happened to the aircraft, including whether it could clarify if someone was at the controls when the plane hit the water.

The search team has been operating on the theory that no one was steering the plane when it crashed, but some critics have argued there may have been someone controlling the plane at the end of its flight. If that was the case, the plane could have glided much further than investigators believe, thus tripling in size the search area.

"That's the sort of thing we'll have to do a very close analysis of this part (to find out), if indeed it is associated with MH370," Dolan said. "The question we will have to establish to the best of our ability is what level of energy was involved in the aircraft colliding with the water to have led to the separation of the part."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Investigators to begin probe of Texas bus crash that left 13 dead

    World News CTV News
    UVALDE, Texas - Federal investigators are getting their first look Thursday at the scene of a head-on collision involving a small church bus and a pickup truck that killed 13 senior adult church members onboard the bus. Source
  • Post-cyclone flood evacuations in Australia affect more than 25,000

    World News CBC News
    Authorities ordered the evacuation of large parts of a major town of more than 25,000 people in eastern Australia on Thursday. A storm system generated by a powerful cyclone that pummelled the northeast two days ago has swept down the coast with heavy rain. Source
  • Police investigating blast at Saskatoon court building

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON - Police in Saskatoon are investigating the detonation of an improvised explosive device at the same building as the city's provincial courthouse. Police say there have been no injuries but there are reports of minor damage to the exterior of the building. Source
  • Trump University lawsuit faces final hurdle for settlement

    World News CTV News
    SAN DIEGO – U.S. President Donald Trump faces one last hurdle to ending nearly seven years of lawsuits over his now-defunct Trump University when a judge decides Thursday whether to approve a $25 million settlement with former customers. Source
  • North Carolina to vote on repealing LGBT bathroom law today

    World News CBC News
    North Carolina Republican lawmakers said late on Wednesday they had reached a deal to repeal the state's controversial law prohibiting transgender people from using restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. The compromise, reached with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and set to go before the legislature for a vote Thursday morning, would still ban local municipalities, schools and others from regulating bathroom access. Source
  • Thai prosecutors postpone court appearance for Red Bull heir

    World News CTV News
    BANGKOK - An heir to the Red Bull fortune has won another delay in facing charges after an alleged hit and run that killed a police officer almost five years ago. In past orders to report, Vorayuth "Boss" Yoovidhya has been a no-show, complaining through his attorney of unfair treatment, or claiming to be ill and out of the country. Source
  • Rex Tillerson in Turkey: What to expect from the U.S. Secretary of State's visit to Ankara

    World News CBC News
    It will be a short meeting with long wish lists and an even longer list of potential consequences. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Ankara today for his first official visit with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. Source
  • France retools anti-extremism efforts after public failures

    World News CTV News
    LENS, France -- France's efforts to combat homegrown terrorism are in turmoil: A group home intended to turn young people away from Islamic extremism sits empty. A move to segregate prison inmates suspected of jihadi sympathies has been abandoned. Source
  • Pedestrian deaths in U.S. spike 11% in study, but precise impact of mobile devices unclear

    World News CBC News
    Pedestrian deaths are climbing faster than motorist fatalities, reaching nearly 6,000 deaths last year — the highest total in more than two decades, according to an analysis of preliminary state data released Thursday. Increased driving due to an improved economy, lower gas prices and more walking for exercise and environmental reasons are some of the likely reasons behind the estimated 11 per cent spike in pedestrian fatalities in 2016. Source
  • U.S. military to investigate Mosul airstrike that killed dozens of civilians

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. military has launched a formal investigation into what role the U.S. played in the deaths of dozens of civilians in Mosul, Iraq, earlier this month, amid warnings from a top American general that the dense urban fight is making it harder to avoid killing innocents. Source