Speaking of airplanes -- see yesterday's post (with video!) about the amazing An-225 Mriya -- you may be wondering what's become of the search for the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean in March of 2014. When last we checked (WWW 24/3/16), two more pieces of debris had been found on the western fringes of the Indian Ocean, 1000s of miles from the search zone in the southeastern quadrant of said ocean.
Walt and others have suggested all along that the "authorities" are looking for the wreck in the wrong place. Whether they're doing so as a result of lack of information or deliberate disinformation is part of the Mystery of MH370. But more evidence that the search has somehow been misdirected surfaced (if you'll forgive the pun) yesterday, when the Malaysian government confirmed that two more pieces of debris have been found, making the total number recovered five. Can you guess where the two new pieces were discovered? Yes, in the same general area -- the coast of South Africa and Rodrigues Island, just to the east of Mauritius. Check out this map.
You can't see southern Africa on the map, but trust me, it's just to the west (left) of the area shown. To get from there to Mauritius, you fly more or less due east from Maputo (capital of Moçambique), over Madagascar, passing by Réunion (where the first piece of debris was found) and there you are. Keep going, and the next stop is Rodrigues.
Notice anything else? Ah yes... Make a left turn at Rodrigues, head northeast, and you'd wind up at... wait for it... Diego Garcia! Does that name sound familiar? It's the site of a gigantic US military base. And that, IMHO, is where the answer to the Mystery of MH370 is likeliest to be found.
Returning to yesterday's announcement, the "authorities" and "experts" seem to be stealthily backing away from their position that MH370 slipped into the sea somewhere off the west coast of Australia. Geoff Dell, a specialist in accident investigation at Central Queensland University in Australia, told AP that the latest discovery "shows they're looking in the right ocean — that's about it."
To make matters murkier, the five pieces of debris found so far don't offer much in terms of figuring out what happened to the Boeing 777. There don't appear to be any scorch or burn marks which would indicate an explosion and/or fire. Investigators are examining marine life attached to the debris to see if it could somehow help them narrow down where the plane entered the ocean, but haven't discovered anything useful yet.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is leading the investigation, says one of the pieces found recently is a panel from the main cabin, probably part of a door closet, identified by its decorative laminate. But even this interior piece is unlikely to prove very helpful, said Mr Dell.
It won't, for example, answer the question that some have raised about whether anyone was still at the controls of the plane at the end of its flight, or whether the plane spiraled uncontrollably into the water after running out of fuel. "I wouldn't hang your hat too much on what it says, other than it's got to come out of the airplane somehow and that suggests there was a structural failure in the fuselage that allowed it to get out," he said. "But how, exactly — who knows?"