Durban - Durban beaches could hold vital clues in the mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 flight which disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014.
This is according to US adventurer and modern day Indiana Jones, Blaine Gibson, who has been investigating the disappearance.
Gibson arrived in Durban on Friday to team up with Liam Lotter from KwaZulu-Natal, and Neels Kruger from Pretoria, who discovered debris confirmed to be from the missing Boeing 777.
The flight was en route to Beijing when it disappeared.
Lotter found debris on a Mozambique beach during the December holidays which was sent for analysis, and Neels Kruger found another piece on a Mossel Bay beach.
Gibson also found debris on a sandbar off the Mozambique coast. Describing himself as “a lawyer who loves adventures and solving mysteries”, he confirmed he had spent many months searching for clues. He has also been to Madagascar where he found more debris believed to be from the missing plane.
“An Ausralian oceanographer, who is doing the drift analysis, told me that the two most likely places debris from the plane would be found would be on the eastern coast of Madagascar and the eastern coast of South Africa, particularly Durban,” said Gibson.
Gibson made contact with the two South Africans following their separate pieces of debris being confirmed as from the ill-fated flight. The three will travel to Port Shepstone tomorrow to begin a further search.
Lotter, who is hosting Gibson at his home in Wartburg, said they would be walking along beaches from Port Shepstone up the coast to Durban. Kruger was already on the South Coast.
Lotter and Gibson visited beaches in uMhlanga on Friday and Gibson said he did not believe that the Boeing had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean as has been speculated.
”I found three or four pieces of debris from the main cabin in Madagascar in June. Debris will not only tell us where the plane crashed, but also why.
“I do not believe it could have been a controlled landing pilot suicide as has been speculated, but rather a high impact crash. Although I prefer to stay away from any theory. There are too many theories and not enough evidence,” said Gibson.
He asked beachgoers to keep an eye out for any pieces of debris from the plane or even personal items, which could have washed ashore.
“Pieces of the plane would be light grey or white and could look as though they are from a boat, surfboard or even a box,” said Gibson.
He added that he had gone to the first commemoration of the disappearance and had met many of the victims’ families.
Lotter said he had become caught up in the search for the missing plane since finding his piece of debris and also asked that Durbanites keep their eyes open for any evidence that may have washed up on the beach.
“A small piece of debris on the beach might not mean anything to you, but it could mean everything to one of the family members of the missing passengers,” said Lotter.
Kruger said he realised that the possibility of finding another piece of the plane was a “needle in a haystack situation”, but that sharing their experiences with one another carried great value.
“Sharing this with those who cross our paths would also help in future search efforts,” he said.
Meanwhile, air crash investigators are planning to dump replica Boeing 777 wing flaps, fitted with satellite trackers, into the Indian Ocean in a last ditch effort to try to locate the elusive wreckage.
An estimated 74 030km2 have been searched during the two-year operation to find the missing aircraft.
In July, Malaysia, China and Australia agreed that the exhaustive hunt would be suspended once the current search of the south west portion of the Indian Ocean (from Australia) is completed. The hunt has cost in the region of $160-million (R2.1-billion).Independent on Saturday