American adventurer says it would be 'very lucky' if debris belongs to MH370

SEPANG, Malaysia -- An American adventurer said Saturday that it would be a "very lucky discovery" if the piece of aircraft he found on a sandbank off the coast of Mozambique is confirmed to be from the Malaysia Airlines jet that vanished two years ago.

See Full Article

Blaine Gibson, who said he's been searching for Flight 370 over the last year, flew to Malaysia to attend a commemorative ceremony to be held Sunday by families of the 239 people who were on board the plane to mark the second anniversary of its disappearance.

Speaking to The Associated Press upon his arrival at the airport outside of Kuala Lumpur, Gibson said that he had wanted no publicity about his Feb. 27 discovery until after the piece was assessed by investigators, but that news of the finding leaked.

The 58-year-old lawyer from Seattle said he was cautious about the possibility that the part is from the missing Boeing 777 because three large jets had crashed in the area before.

"I'd say it was a very lucky discovery if it turns out to be from Malaysia 370," said Gibson, who was wearing a black T-shirt that read "MH370 Search On."

Even if the piece does not turn out to be from the jet that disappeared on March 8, 2014, Gibson said his discovery could still be useful, perhaps providing clues to another air disaster or raising the public's awareness that the mystery of Flight 370 still has not been solved.

Gibson said he hopes his finding will encourage more people in the area to comb beaches for clues and to hand over any items they think could be passenger belongings or plane debris to authorities to be assessed.

An ongoing search in the southern Indian Ocean has found no trace of the missing plane, though a wing part from the jet washed ashore on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean in July.

The new piece of debris is now in the hands of Mozambique civil aviation authorities and is expected to be sent to Australia this coming week to be examined. Australia is leading the search for the jet.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has said there is a "high" probability that the part is from a Boeing 777. Flight 370 is the only missing 777.

Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said the location of the debris matches investigators' drift modeling and would therefore confirm that search crews are looking in the right place for the main underwater wreckage.

Gibson said he didn't travel to Mozambique specifically to search for the plane. He said he loves travelling and picked Mozambique -- the 177th country he has visited -- because he had never been there before.

He arrived in Mozambique on Feb. 20 and spent his time sightseeing before deciding to look for possible plane debris a week later, when he hired a boat to go to the sandbank. He said the sandbank was suggested by a local tour guide because it was where fishermen would go to scour for ropes and other items that are washed in from the open sea.

Gibson said half an hour after they started searching the sandbank, the tour guide spotted the piece lying on top of the sand and quickly called him over.

"The odds are very, very small" of finding plane debris, Gibson said, adding that he has "combed a lot of beaches in the world and found absolutely nothing."

"I did not bring this public and wanted this to stay quiet until it was in the hands of investigators and they were able to make a determination, but the story got ahead of itself," he said.

Gibson said he started actively searching for the plane in the past year, taking him to beaches in the Maldives, Mauritius, Cambodia, Myanmar and the French island of Reunion.

He said he attended a service in Malaysia last year on the first anniversary of the plane's disappearance, and that his trip back here for the second anniversary was planned before his discovery of the plane part in Mozambique. He said he has been in touch with some relatives of Flight 370 passengers via Facebook.

Gibson said he has funded his search out of his own pocket and has not sought or received any money. He has no plans to write a book, saying his focus is on "finding clues and finding the plane."

What has driven Gibson's search for Flight 370? "The combination of two things: my love of travel, adventure and solving mysteries, together with a very deep concern for the families of all those on board are driving me in this search," he said.

Gibson said he has previously travelled to Siberia to investigate a meteor crash and Central America as a volunteer in archaeological expeditions to find out why the Mayan civilization collapsed.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Paris protesters decry police brutality following shooting death of Chinese man

    World News CBC News
    Dozens of Chinese Parisians gathered in front of a police station in northern Paris on Tuesday to protest against police brutality. On Sunday evening, Liu Shaoyo, a 54-year-old father of Chinese descent, was fatally shot by police at his house, in the presence of his teenage children. Source
  • Canada Revenue Agency declares man dead - but he's not

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B - A 64-year-old New Brunswick man says he is very much alive, despite being declared dead by the Canada Revenue Agency. Peter Harwerth of Campobello Island said he was stunned to receive a letter from the agency a few days ago that was addressed to the “estate of the late Peter Harwerth. Source
  • Family files lawsuit in Canadian filmmaker's Keys dive death

    Canada News CTV News
    MIAMI - The family of a Canadian filmmaker and conservationist who died during a shark filming excursion in the Florida Keys has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in the death of 37-year-old Rob Stewart blames negligence on the companies and individuals who organized the January dive. Source
  • Purolator stops taking shipments ahead of strike deadline

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - Purolator has stopped accepting shipments ahead of a strike deadline Wednesday issued by the union representing some of the courier’s employees. Teamsters Canada issued the 72-hour strike notice Sunday after the majority of its more than 8,000 members who work for Purolator voted to reject the company’s final offer. Source
  • Canadian naval vessel part of massive international drug bust

    Canada News CBC News
    The U.S. Coast Guard says a Canadian ship was involved in a massive cocaine bust in international waters over a 26-day period. Approximately 14.5 tonnes of cocaine were seized in 17 separate drug boat interceptions. Source
  • Hong Kong escalator suddenly reverses direction, increases speed and leaves riders in pile at the bottom

    World News Toronto Sun
    A four-story escalator packed with shoppers at a Hong Kong mall suddenly stopped and reversed direction at high speed Saturday, injuring at least 18 people who fell and rolled down the hard steel, some landing in a heap at the bottom. Source
  • Most patients get priority surgeries within target wait times: Report

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Three out of four Canadians received a hip or knee replacement, cataract surgery, hip fracture repair or cancer radiation therapy within the recommended wait times for those priority procedures, although there was often wide variation from one province to another, researchers say. Source
  • 'Big Maple Leaf' gold coin worth millions was stolen with wheelbarrow: police

    World News CTV News
    Berlin police say suspects used a wheelbarrow to make off with a 100-kilogram gold coin worth millions. Police said Tuesday at least two burglars broke into the Bode Museum early Monday morning using a ladder to climb up to a window from elevated railway tracks running alongside the building. Source
  • Paris clashes over police killing of Chinese man; 3 injured

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- Violent clashes in Paris between baton-wielding police and protesters outraged at the police killing of a Chinese man in his home injured three police officers and led to the arrest of 35 protesters, authorities said Tuesday. Source
  • Transgender Florida man Oneal Morris sentenced to 10 years for lethal butt injections

    World News Toronto Sun
    A transgender man accused of manslaughter after his “toxic tush” injections killed a patient in 2012 has been sentenced to 10 years in a Florida prison. Oneal Morris, 36, received his sentence Monday in a Miami-Dade County court after pleading no contest to manslaughter and practising medicine without a license. Source