American adventurer says it would be 'very lucky' if debris is from 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

  • For U.S. Sen. Franken, a rising trajectory, and then the accusations

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - "Many of you have jobs, many of you have families," Sen. Al Franken told Virginia Democratic leaders gathered on the eve of what seemed an uncomfortably close gubernatorial election. After an expectant pause, he leaned into the microphone and added, "Ignore them. Source
  • N.S. jury shown video of off-duty cop and alleged murderer embracing at Halifax bar

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX - An off-duty police officer was seen kissing and embracing Christopher Garnier at a downtown Halifax bar hours before he allegedly strangled her, a jury heard Wednesday. RCMP Const. Kyle Doane told Garnier's murder trial Wednesday that he reviewed surveillance footage from the Halifax Alehouse after it was discovered Truro police Const. Source
  • Zimbabwe's Mugabe granted immunity as part of resignation deal: sources

    World News CBC News
    Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe was granted immunity from prosecution and assured that his safety would be protected in his home country as part of a deal that led to his resignation, sources close to the negotiations said on Thursday. Source
  • Trudeau says housing is a human right — what does that mean exactly?

    Canada News CBC News
    As part of its ambitious national housing strategy, the Liberal government is vowing to enshrine the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right in Canadian law, a symbolic move that has practical considerations. For years there has been an international push to do just that, and Canada is already a signatory to the UN-backed International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes housing as a right. Source
  • Refugee lawyers under 'major pressure' amid backlog of asylum claims

    Canada News CBC News
    Even as politicians in Quebec and Ottawa maintain they are prepared for any influx in asylum seekers, immigration lawyers working on the front lines say they are already struggling to deal with a backlog of refugee claimants. Source
  • Unpaid Zara garment workers say they still haven't seen a cent

    World News CBC News
    It was more than a job to them. "We were a family" is what many of the Turkish textile workers who helped make clothes for international fashion brands told CBC News this week. "We felt safe," Bahar Ugur, 26, said. Source
  • Two men charged with assaulting Dennis Oland in prison face sentencing

    Canada News CTV News
    MIRAMICHI, N.B. - Two Halifax men charged with assaulting Dennis Oland in a New Brunswick prison last July are to be sentenced today in Miramichi. Convicted killer Cody Alexander Muise and Aaron Marriott, who was convicted in a 2008 drug shooting, attacked Oland at Atlantic Institution in Renous, N.B. Source
  • Papua New Guinea officials pressure asylum seekers to leave camp

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - Papua New Guinea authorities on Thursday removed dozens of asylum seekers and ratcheted up pressure on more than 300 others to abandon a decommissioned immigration camp, where refugees reported their shelters, beds and other belongings have been destroyed. Source
  • Pope Francis to visit three Baltic nations next year

    World News CTV News
    COPENHAGEN - Pope Francis is planning a visit to Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia next year, when the three Baltic nations celebrate their 100th anniversaries. Daiva Ulbinaite, a spokeswoman for Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, tells the Baltic News agency the visit is scheduled for autumn of 2018. Source
  • Argentina reports new clues in search for missing submarine

    World News CTV News
    MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina - Ships and planes hunting for a missing Argentine submarine with 44 crew members will return to a previously search area after officials said Wednesday that a noise made a week ago in the South Atlantic could provide a clue to the vessel's location. Source