Wednesday, June 24, 2015

MH370 did not crash in Maldives, says aviation chief

Maldivian investigators visit Dhaalu Atoll and verify that the fire extinguisher washed up on shore was not from Malaysia Airlines plane.
MH370 Maldives

The Maldives Civil Aviation Authority has effectively dismissed claims that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had flown over the Dhaalu Atoll here hours after it went missing on March 8 last year.

The plane left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing when it went off the radar hours after take off.

Eye-witnesses on the tiny island of Kudahuvadhoo Dhaalu Atoll had said they saw a “low-flying jumbo jet” around the time MH370 with 239 people on board disappeared.

Teenager Humaam Dhonmamk, had said in April last year that he saw the blue and red on a bit of the side and heard “the loud noise of it after it went over”.

Another islander, Rasheed Ibrahim, had said he had seen pictures of the missing plane and believed that what he saw was MH370.

Kudahuvadhoo is about 2,000 miles from Kuala Lumpur, in the opposite direction of Beijing.

Maldivian authorities have disregarded these claims but its civil aviation authority chairman, Ibrahim Faizal, later ordered deeper questioning of the islanders.

“I wanted to revisit it because I did not have all the information for me to make a call,” said Ibrahim in a report in the Daily Express yesterday.

The authorities now believe the witnesses had in fact seen a smaller, 50-seater jet with similar branding, and not the jumbo jet that Malaysia Airlines used.

A fire extinguisher that washed up on a nearby island had also been ruled out by the investigation as that belonging to flight MH370.

Ibrahim said he was now firm in his conviction that the sighting was not that of a Boeing 777 (MH370).

“The whole issue was confused by other matters like the sighting of a fire extinguisher. We found that this is not from any aircraft, let alone a Boeing 777.”

Ibrahim said the fire extinguisher was most likely from the Island Aviation Bombardier Dash 8 aircraft.

The hunt for MH370 is continuing in the Indian Ocean with teams using ships with sonar equipment to search the seabed.