Could Gulf of Thailand Debris Come From MH370? — UPDATED


According to FelineNut, who I generally regard as extremely unreliable, Thai media are reporting that a piece of debris has been found off the coast of southern Thailand, not from from the Malaysian border, the Gulf of Thailand. I have no idea how debris from a single crash could wind up in both Réunion Island and the Gulf of Thailand; I certainly have not seen any drift models with endpoints in both places. (Apparently the current through the Malacca Strait runs from southeast to northwest, so it couldn’t have come via that route from the Indian Ocean; maybe through the Sunda Strait?) On the other hand, the piece does look aircraft-like (though perhaps a bit more like a section of rocket casing, as was recently recovered off the UK coast), and the marine life on it is strikingly reminiscent of that on the Réunion flaperon, with scattered clumps of goose barnacles and patchy brown algal film. I’ve spent a short while doing Bing and Google image searches but haven’t found any shots of a Rolls-Royce Trent engine that match what we’re seeing here. Any thoughts?

UPDATE: Reader Gysbreght has just pointed out that AirAsia 8501, and A320, crashed about 800 nautical miles on December 28, 2014. If this is indeed a piece of jet-engine cowling, that would seem a more likely source. Debris from that crash had previously been discovered at a distance of several hundred miles. (Gerry Soejatman points out that the currents in the vicinity of the QZ8501 crash site flow to the southeast, meaning that if this piece did come from that plane it must have taken a rather circuitous journey–not impossible, given that more than a year has passed.)

UPDATE #2: Thanks to some excellent detective work by the Wall Street Journal’s Jon Ostrower, it now appears clear that the debris is from a Japanese rocket. Gerry Soejatman has a nice blog post about it here.

79 thoughts on “Could Gulf of Thailand Debris Come From MH370? — UPDATED”

  1. As explained in this excerpt, the payload fairings are normally recovered at sea. This one must have been missed and then drifted quite a long distance.

    “The H-IIB rocket detaches the fairing at a high altitude of approximately 120km. Then the fairing falls into the sea.
    Because of the impact, it falls apart, but most of the parts don’t sink, they stay afloat because of the lightness of the materials. These are recovered by ships for maritime safety…Fairing is made of thin planks, and mainly aluminum is used for the outside surface, the inside surface and the inner structure. Especially the internal structure which is built like a bees nest (honeycomb structure), which remains lightweight while maintaining strength.
    To maintain the shape, a structure has been attached to the external portion, but that part becomes very hot when the rocket rises and the air resistance increases. But because it has been made from special material, it can withstand high temperatures. The fairing is made of various devices piled, but assembled mostly by hand, using cutting edge technology and skilled technique.”

  2. I think it had to have been the August 19, 2015 launch – my (admittedly skimmed) read of their lit is that the 5S-H (the only fairing design that flares outward above Stage 2) is brand new, to accommodate wider payloads.

  3. The Japanese launch authorities have had problems with local fishermen who hate the rockets falling in their fishing grounds. At one point launches from could only occur in designated (and short) seasons of the year. I guess hoovering up the pieces of the fairing is part of what needs to be done. As others have said, nice work by Gerry S, my original comments incorrect.

    Meanwhile, back at the SIO search, the curse of Fugro Discovery strikes again and it is returning to Fremantle after only 4 days work. Decision seems to have been taken quickly, from the ship track/speeds, so probably not equipment failure since there wasn’t much delay for fault finding. If an injury or illness (as twice recently) hopefully not serious.

  4. What a great vindication. For this one, Malaysia can distort, defy, destroy and drag it out as long as they wish.

    What an awesome display of humanity and a huge thank you to Gerry Soejatman and all who participated.

    Yes I know “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” but it would be nice for the devoted to make that call for once, not waiting for some announcement from Malaysia which may or may not arrive and who has been shown the proper way an investigation is done.

  5. @jG (James)
    I would put my money only on C) being a 10 on the stupid scale with 10 being the worst. A) & B) certainly within the realm of logical possibility.

  6. @SusieCrowe lol, you think C) is a tad too… Implausible? Thank you for responding nonetheless, like most, I’m just stuck trying to make sense of this story. You seem to be very expert on the subject. Any interesting (or illuminating) links regarding #MH370 pls send them my way. Have a good everyone. jG

  7. Interesting that at least 24 hours after others have shown (convincingly, IMO) that the part is likely from an H2a rocket, the press is still quoting Malaysian officials as saying it looks like an aviation part.

    I don’t understand the difficulty here. If the two leading possibilities are that the part is from an H2a rocket or a B777, it should take a few minutes to get the opinion from the manufacturers. For such a large part, and a radius that can easily be calculated, it doesn’t make sense. Unless of course there’s some interest in keeping the public guessing for a few news cycles.

  8. My bad – flared design has been around since at least 09 on the H-IIB, so any of its recent missions would be eligible.

  9. @jG

    it’s ridiculous for many reasons

    crossing malaysian mainland, going over calm patch of sea to ditch it in high seas and cause lot of debris etc. etc.

    just forget it

  10. Inspired by the power of a modern-day image search, I wonder whether we could next tackle the Maldives debris currently reported to be held by Malaysian authorities.

    In addition to honeycomb structure some suggest is rare among surfboards, we have the letters “IC”, preceded by a partial letter that looks like it is most likely a “T”, or possibly an “F”. Font is red, but otherwise spectacularly plain.

    Here’s the closest I could get to matching the combination of font and honeycomb structure:

    The website implies that the image is a closeup of the pitot-staTIC warning on a Boeing 757-23A.

    I’m sure better searchers than me could find an even better match.

    Thanks to Mark Fox and Pat Janssen for rekindling my interest.

  11. @ Brock McEwen:

    Why do you think that the static ports on a transport category airplane is surrounded by “honeycomb structure”? On all airplanes I’ve seen there is never less than 2 inches of unpainted metal around a static port.

  12. @Brock, I am not going to look favorably at attempts to steer conversation toward the Maldives. You have contributed much of value to the hunt for MH370, and frankly I’m baffled by your failure to see the pointlessness of this sideline. It has nothing going for it and everything going against it. It is exactly the sort of noise we have to stamp out if we have any hope of seeing things clearly.

  13. @jeffwise

    I agree, and just to add he is wasting his energy which might be very useful for other MH370 stuff as he is proved to be very valuable contributor.

  14. @Jeff
    Its hard to know where to post items as after the initial flurry of posts under a new heading the conversation tends to drift in all directions and older headings are largely ignored; is it possible please to redesign the site a little so we have several current topics and can more easily look up details from older posts? (I imagine this isn’t easy…just a thought).
    So continuing with a previous topic here anyway… You asked in the poll “would you be willing to seriously consider the possibility that the satellite signal was deliberately tampered with and that the plane went somewhere else other than the southern Indian Ocean?”. If we (just in theory) discard the satellite data and keep the radar data, then it would seem the plane was heading West under deliberate control and we have no proof of a turn South and no proof it did fly on until fuel exhaustion? Other than a whistle-blower coming forward, how are we going to get anywhere with this unless we turn over every remotely possible “stone” in that Westerly direction?

  15. I caught an episode of Madam Secretary last night, and plot includes Air Force One’s communications being disabled by a foreign power which had installed malware onboard.
    Hollywood often peddles fiction that has some basis in truth.
    I’m wondering wherever did they get this idea?

  16. @AM2, Sorry, I know this site isn’t really optimized for the role it’s come to play. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to figuring out how to do that. In the meantime, I suggest saying whatever you have to say in the comments to the most recent post, whatever the topic.

  17. @Caleb

    I am not sure if they are grounding them because of that but if they do then it’s a very stupid decision.

    Both cases had nothing to do with type of the plane.

  18. whenever they find something north of Sumatra there is a very minimal chance it’s debris from MH370

  19. I think that with the most recent debris find in Besut Terengganu, mh370 did indeed crash off the coast of Malaysia and Thailand probably shot down by an air to air missile either deliberately or inadvertently. This theory corroborates the visual sighting from an offshore oil rig by a New Zealandet as well as an early photo of debris off Terengganu where last contact was lost. Possible suspects : a joint air exercise in the area precisely on the ill fated day. The pings and whatever radar data allegedly detected were nothing more than afterthoughts as part of wide ranging cover up conspiracy and disinformation. After all geopolitical, strategic and national interests make good bed fellows especially when you are on the same side of the divide. Sad but true

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.