A promising find of possible debris from MH370 on Kangaroo Island earlier this month didn’t come from the missing Malaysia Airlines 777 according to its maker Boeing.
That finding is all that is news in this week’s search update from the JACC and ATSB.
On 9 June 2016, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) was advised of possible aircraft debris located on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. The ATSB recovered the part, and examined it, in conjunction with Malaysian authorities and the aircraft manufacturer, Boeing. Information received from the manufacturer indicates that the item is not consistent with the manufacturing specifications of a Boeing commercial aircraft. As such, the ATSB has assessed that the item is not related to the safety investigation or the search for MH370.
However this other report in some News sites raises hopes that some passenger belongings for MH370 have been found or collected on Madagascar by US lawyer Blaine Gibson, who has been at the forefront of unofficial efforts to locate wreckage from the flight, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people onboard.
The News report which appears outside a paywall in an unpredictable manner (but is well worth the small change asked for a subscription) is alarming in that it suggests a lack of commitment on the part of Malaysia authorities to pursue the examination of these possible leads.
It is also disappointing in that News seems to have lost its once famous powers of initiative in picking up story angles and running with them! Where is Col Allan or his peers when they are needed at moments like this?
The obvious move for a news organisation with a story like this is to ensure the items are bundled up in a parcel and immediately sent to the ATSB for serious investigation. They are not under the jurisdiction of Malaysia, but Madagascar, if it is so moved. There is no reason why objects that might just be flotsam or jetsam from other sources rather than from MH370 can’t be dispatched, with the appropriate customs declaration, to a place where they can at the very least be kept in a secure location while further inquiries are made.
A natural headline story for the now apparently dead tabloid instinct in News would be to try to re-unite the objects, initially using photos, with the next of kin of the victims of this suspicious and deeply puzzling mystery, to see if possible matches exist.
The reported indifference of Malaysia to these finds is of concern. The factual indifference of the Malaysia authorities to the disappearance of the jet on March 8, 2014, is already of notable concern. According to Malaysia’s own interim accident report on May 1, 2014, the airline and the authorities made little effort to directly contact a satellite phone in the cockpit (that could have generated significant tracking information, even by just ringing out). They failed to contact shipping and towns that might have seen anything unusual in the vicinity of the filed flight path.
They didn’t even convene an emergency response team meeting in KL until just after MH370 was due to have touched down in Beijing.
The stench of inaction and prevarication from the Malaysian authorities and its national carrier on the night of MH370’s disappearance and in the weeks afterwards is as strong and obnoxious as ever.