Image of Barnacle-Encrusted Debris Surfaces in South Africa — UPDATED



Above is a picture that Neels Le Roux Kruger recently posted on the ‘MH370 In search of the truth’ website. He writes:

An interesting development with regards to “Klein Roy”.

‘This morning I was in contact with an individual from the town of George inland from Mosselbay in South Africa. The person, who is a frequent visitor to Klein Brak beach, was walking on the beach at Klein Brak on 23 December 2015 on an amateur ocean photo assignment. He captured images of the ocean and the beach – and he also took a photo of an object he though was part of a signboard. He said he did not think much of the object at the time and he didn’t examine it (or handle it) since it smelled of decomposing marine life. The fragment was covered in barnacles and mussels. He took a random photo and also notes that when he returned later the day the fragment was gone – probably washed back out to sea by the incoming tide. After reading about the investigation into the MH370 debris and the identification of “Roy” he made the connection to my photos of the piece and came into contact with the media.
Quite amazing – this is definitely the “Rolls Royce” fragment I picked up 3 months later in the same area!

This is exciting since it brings the time frame for the washing up of the RR fragment 3 months forward to at least December 2015. It is also an indication of the presence of substantial amounts of marine life on the fragment when it first washed up along the South African coast.

For reference, here’s an image of the piece as it was found by Kruger in March near Mossel Bay, South Africa:


Taken together, these photos make a compelling case for the idea — which I have strongly disputed here — that barnacle-encrusted pieces could be thoroughly cleaned by wave, sand, and sun after coming ashore.

The implication, then, is that the pieces were not “ineptly planted,” as I asserted, but that the lack of biofouling is due to the pieces spending time ashore before they were discovered.

UPDATE 5/18/16: Today an Afrikaans-language website published an article entitled “MH370 piece all photographed in December” by Eugene Gunning explaining how the photograph at top came to be taken. Below is the translation courtesy of Google Translate with a bit of cleanup on my part. Obviously parts are still pretty baffling, if anyone cares to help to polish up them up in the comments section that would be most welcome. Thanks to readers @SA Reader and @Afrikaans for alerting me to this story.

The debris of the missing flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines which was conducted in December on the beach of Little Brak River by a resident of Knysna.

Dr. Schalk Lückhoff, a retired physician from Knysna, may help to solve the mysterious disappearance of the missing flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines.

In December last year Lückhoff came accross a piece of debris on the beach of Klien-Brakrivier, which is presumaby from the missing aircraft. He didn’t realise at the time that it is from the missing aircraft.

This is the same debris that more than two months later by Neels Kruger, an archaeologist from Pretoria, seen on the beach and picked up.

The debris has been sent to the Malaysian government.

The plane went missing on March 8, 2014, shortly after it Kuala Lumpur took off en route to Beijing. There were 239 passengers and crew on board.

The Australia Transport Safety Board announced Thursday that the debris probably came from the plane.

Lückhoff said he walked at Klein Brak River on the beach on 23 December. It was about 07:22 when he saw an object on the beach. It lay on the riverbank. He took a picture of it.

“I was really busy,” he told to take pictures of fast-flowing water for a photography project. “The piece caught my attention because it was the only thing on the bare expanse of sand. Because it stank because of the decaying barnacles, I did not touch it and took a casual photo.

“I did not recognize what it was and thought it might be part of an old notice board. It was full of sand and mussels and just a small part of the letters put out.

“After the next high tide I haven’t seen it again and supposed that it washed back into the sea.”

When he saw the story about Kruger in the Cape, he recognized it.

Kruger said on inquiry that he is very excited about it. “It can make a contribution to the investigation.”


196 thoughts on “Image of Barnacle-Encrusted Debris Surfaces in South Africa — UPDATED”

  1. Oxy,

    “However with the AC busses repowered by the APU and left engine operating and supplying hydraulic power (Left IDG and Left BU gen disabled), flight envelope protection is enabled even if the autopilot is off.”

    That is very interesting. As you know the majority, including IG, does not believe there are stable flight modes besides LNAV, HDG or TRK HOLD combined with some vertical mode, blindly assumed to be a constant FL.

    Everything what you wrote appears to be applicable to 18:25 event. Flameout or shutdown of the other engine at 18:21, followed by descent, startup of the APU, and so on.

    – Do you have access to the simulator to check a few things?
    – What do you know about ATT mode? Would trajectory be affected by wind and Coriolis in ATT+ALT mode?
    – Would FEP attempt to keep bank angle at zero if AP is off, or FEP intervention occurs only when bank angle exceeds 35 deg? Given your remark about ‘orbits’, I guess the latter.
    – You wrote you also observed S-shaped trajectory. What is a reason?
    – Do you have transcript of your simulations similar to ALSM’s xls?

  2. I honestly don’t think I can take any more of this talking in riddles. Certain theories? Because of what happened in the past? What does that mean?

    (I don’t expect an answer anyone can understand)

    Signing off for tonight at least.

  3. ROB,

    Re “The FMC would be powered by the standby electrical system in an emergency, ie by battery.”

    I don’t have doubts that you are right, but can you provide a proper reference? Just in case if ever needed. Both FMC? Thanks.

  4. @Victor: thanks for your posts.

    Re: “[Note: No other pilot reported hearing this exchange.]”: would this be unusual, on the emergency frequency at 17:30 UTC?

    Also: I agree with you that we really need to have that pilot re-interviewed, to close the apparent gap between “sure it was the co-pilot” and “I heard mumbling”. It is POSSIBLE the exchange began with something which permitted identification, yet ended with the mumbling/static.

    Re: Weibo account: pretty pivotal evidence, potentially. Can you direct me to your source for the evidence demonstrating the deception causing it to look like it belonged to the US embassy?

    Absolutely not puffing anything up, nor running anything down – just trying to analyze this dispassionately.

  5. @MH, @trond:
    We don’t have enough information about the conditions and timing of that mumbling. What I mean is that if the pilot received that mumbling, that means that at least a weak carrier wave of the correct frequency went through the squelch at the time a reply from MH370 was expected, unless the pilot turned off the squelch to be able to continuously listen to any noise on that frequency and the mumbling was heard at a time irrelevant to an expected reply. That mumbling may have importance if the pilot heard it at the exact time a reply was expected.

  6. @Erik Nelson
    Yes, there are other ‘more recent’ Airworthiness Directives, than
    that 2012-13-05, here is a list (using 777-200 as the search term);
    2013-11-04 7/9/2013 Equipment/furnishings
    2013-08-02 5/24/2013 Stabilizers
    2013-08-09 5/23/2013 Oxygen
    2013-07-11 5/20/2013 Fuselage
    2013-05-10 5/3/2013 Equipment/Furnishings
    2013-05-03 4/25/2013 Fuel
    2013-05-05 4/25/2013 Electrical power
    2012-23-06 12/31/2012 AC Generator-Alternator
    2012-21-10 11/14/2012 Flight controls
    2012-19-10 11/7/2012 Landing Gear
    2012-16-04 10/3/2012 Exhaust
    2012-14-03 8/27/2012 Fuselage
    2012-13-05 8/16/2012 Oxygen (<–EgyptAir Flight 667 fire).

    We should be careful, and suggest that the FI wording may instead
    have meant to convey the meaning that 2012-13-05 was merely the
    most recent(ly) 'actioned' AD that was carried out,(rather than
    the most 'recent' AD that occured.) Still, it is a bit noteworthly
    that '2012-13-05', according to the FI author(s), is the LAST entry
    of an AD, when there were those more recent AD's as I have listed
    When I raised this matter of whether '2012-13-05' had been actioned
    on 9M-MRO, another poster here cited the FI. I'll note this about
    the FI;
    It has been produced by the 'Safety Investigation Team for MH370,
    Ministry of Transport, Malaysia'. (Doesn't this mean it is basically
    the Malaysian Government that produced the report?)
    The report shows no signatures of the authors.
    The report gives no names of the authors (and only name 'Mohan'
    in the pdf properties).
    The report has a disclaimer in its front as to the accuracy of
    the information therein. (Therefore the report is less than the
    standard you could expect to be required, for instance, for
    usage in a court of law.)
    The report does not show a photocopy, or reproduce the words of
    the 'Maintenance and Inspection records' that the report states
    shows '2012-13-05' was actioned.
    These points I am drawing to your attention, cause me to regard
    the FI as deficient when cited as proof that '2012-13-05' was
    in fact actioned.

    Thankyou for drawing to my attention that there is not a way into
    the EE Bay from the cockpit. I misunderstood the EE Bay video, and
    my false statement is now corrected.)

    @Trond said;
    "And i only say all of this now because of what has happened
    in the past."
    Was that before or after you came to earth in the Galatica? and
    do you get your insights while listening to 'All Along The
    Watchtower' in the original Cylon?

  7. having a hard time posting a comment, is there something I’m missing? Thanks!

  8. @buyerninety:

    There is no point of installing a reinforced cockpit door if the EE bay can be freely accessed from both sides of the cockpit door.
    What I don’t understand is why the EE bay entrance located outside of the cockpit is accessible by anybody.

  9. @Brock McEwen:

    In that part of the world, it would be unlikely that only one aircraft would hear the transmission from another aircraft.

    As for the Weibo message, Florence explains that the message was from “United States Embassy” rather than the official “US Embassy”, all in Chinese characters, of course, and from this, the message was determined to be fake. (On Twitter, we have many times seen fake accounts with names similar to official accounts.) Florence knows the details.

  10. @Tyreen, @All, My apologies to everyone, I went out for a few hours and when I came back I found that things had gone a bit off the rails. I’m going to clean out all the discussion of hallucinogenic experiences, as I don’t think this is the appropriate forum. Also, as I think I made quite clear, there was a lot of inaccurate reporting in the first few days after MH370 disapeared, and it’s important not to get bogged down in it. It should be evident to everyone that it is impossible to ascribe to any source mumbling heard on a radio frequency, so there is no reason to lend credence to any story that claims otherwise.

  11. @Oleksandr

    In my hallucinations the maldives wasnt an exact spot it was only the maldives.

    Going offline.

  12. @Marc
    “the EE bay entrance located outside of the cockpit is accessible by anybody.”
    I guess most Western (airline) carriers will remedy this in the near
    future. To be fair, (when the aircraft is in the air at least),
    opening the EE Bay hatch does sound an audible alarm in the cockpit –
    as proof, you can hear the alarm go off in that EE Bay video when
    the flight officer opens the hatch.

  13. Gysbreght,

    Given that you are an expert in FCOM, may I ask you when IAS can exceed 330 knots? I can see KIAS up to 360 in some tables.

  14. @Gysbreght
    “Is that based on: Overhead YPXM at 23:46 turning on to 047 – Yes”

    The difference is 123nm to 155nm between YPXM and 00:11
    I have checked with the person concerned and this flightplan was done back in the early days in conjunction with Duncan Steel.
    If I understand correctly what you are saying it is that the 6th arc used in the flightplan has been plotted in the wrong place.

  15. @Oleksandr

    Re the FMC power question, the best I can do for you is as follows:

    B777-Systems Summary (Electrical) SMARTCOCKPIT.COM

    Standby Electrical System: The standby system can supply AC and DC power to selected flight instruments, comms and navigation system, and flight controls if there are primary electrical power failures. The standby system is supplied by the main battery and the RAT.


    Also notes when powered airplane in flight looses AC power, the standby busses are powered, left inboard, outboard, and upper centre displays, and the left CDU is powered.

    The CDUs can operate in the role of FMCs when both FMCs fail, as part of the Alternate Navigation System, also described in Chapter 11 of Smartcockpit, Flight Management and Navigation.

    So all bases covered there.

    Then in Designing the Boeing 777 Electrical Power System, by Carl Tenning, senior Boeing design engineer, he explains about the B777 the decision to select 28V DC to power instrumentation, instead of 115V AC.

    Bottom line is when the generators fail, the batteries and the RAT can keep the important avionics systems operating, as you would expect for an aircraft rated 180mins ETOPS from the start.

  16. @Jeff me old China!
    I presume you’ve already read this article in Forbes? But I was just wondering what your thoughts on the subject were…

    ““How did a company with no real record in this industry and no equipment at the time end up with this huge job and get away with not producing any publicly available data for two years,” asked Rob McCallum, a manager at Williamson and Associates, an underwater recovery firm. That’s the kind of question I heard ricocheting around over the past two years.”

    Cheers as always.

  17. Trond was clearly part of what happened, he knows more than he’s saying, its killing him not being able to tell us!

  18. @OXY. Thanks. An unmanned extra distance of up to 90 miles….
    I take it you mean TAC is applied at right engine failure, before the APU comes on line. Needs engine thrust data.
    Couple of points:
    -IFE non-connection would need an explanation. I do not have one: it connected at the earlier log-on.
    -APU would outlast the left engine by 13-14 minutes, using residual fuel, the RAT providing some hydraulics. However some or all of this fuel might (unproven) be consumed by the left engine accessing it via the APU fuel pump, which accesses the residual fuel. That has a second function of delivering fuel to the engine on flame out and loss of main pump pressure(I can provide details). I doubt that simulators will be up with residual fuel quantity variations.

  19. @jeffwise

    My apologies, but it needed to be done, at your blog. It was a good thing for me that you were away at the time. I understand from your perspective all this “nonsense” you removed, but they are gonna blame the pilot and i cant allow that. The public would have accepted it.

  20. @David
    “APU fuel pump”…”has a second function of delivering fuel to the
    engine on flame out and loss of main pump pressure”
    Given that any engine won’t restart by itself, the quantity of fuel
    involved in the APU attempting to send fuel down a line to an
    engine would not be large as it only sits in the fuel line unused
    (albeit pressurises a line, ready for use). We could guess the
    fuel amount would only be equivalent to a number of seconds of
    running time for the APU.

  21. @Oleksandr: ” I can see KIAS up to 360 in some tables.”

    If you identify those tables I may be able to comment.

  22. @Jeff Wise.
    On your update with the new article maybe a small translation-‘flaw’ is better to be corrected.

    As you know maybe; South-African is old dutch so for me its readable.

    In your translation is; ‘I have not dealt with it and took a casual photo’.

    In the article he uses the frase; ‘niet gehanteerd’ . This is more specific then; ‘not dealt with’.
    ‘Niet gehanteerd’ in this context means; I did not move it, touched it, manipulated it.
    Slight difference maybe but I thought I had to wright this to you.

  23. Apparently it was taken at 0722 in the morning. Just looking at the orientation of this beach I had assumed it was an afternoon shot going by the shadow and the apparent runoff visible at the edge? Anyone help me there – some local knowledge maybe. Be nice to know the actual spot?

  24. Hi Jeff not a bad translation, except for ” dealt with it” should be “did not handle it” . and ” when he saw the story about Kruger, he knew it” should be when he saw the article about Kruger, he recognized it”

  25. @Matty Perth.

    The Klein Brak rivier outlet to the ocean:

    Actualy you can zoom-in on Google Earth with much detail.
    Indeed it would be nice to know the spot the photo was taken.

    By the way, the surrounding sand looks still rather wet and flat, like a beach would look on the tide line.

  26. @Victor
    [Having trouble posting, as someone else mentionned earlier, I think my message to you at the bottom of the 3rd page of comments got drown in the middle of others.]
    Anyway, I still can’t find any reference to “Weibo” in my electronic version of Florence’s book, could you indicate me which page are you talking about ? I can’t either find any reference to the fact that the article was determined to be fake because of the use of the “United States Embassy” term.

  27. CNN is reporting that Greece ATC had last radio contact with MS 804 at 3:26am; the aircraft left Greek airspace at and entered Egyptian airspace at 3:27; and “Greek radars lost contact with the flight two minutes later.”

    If confirmed, again we have an aircraft apparently ‘disappearing’ at an FIR boundary.

  28. Just read the news.
    Another plane vanished without any warning above the sea just before entering another air space.
    Hopefully it’s not the same further.
    My thoughts now are with those on board and their families and friends.

  29. @Rand

    Re Egyptair MS804

    Disappearance at an FIR boundary is more likely to be a coincidence, in this case.

    Sudden disappearance from radar, no distress call, no severe weather conditions reported in the area makes it sound more like a bomb or missile (IS for example?)

  30. @buyerninety. The Training Manual with others describe how the APU (DC) fuel pump will cut in automatically to fuel the left engine after flame out and loss of pressure from main AC fuel pumps. What apparently is in mind is a double flame out (ash, rain) and the aim presumably is quick restoration of both an engine and AC power. Igniters start automatically for this and the engine should have speed enough until (and if) it falls beneath the speed needed for a windmill start, the airspeed for this being 250 knots IAS for the RR engine.
    I see no reason why the reaction to fuel exhaustion would not be the same after like flame out and loss of engine fuel manifold pressure although to my knowledge this remains unproven.

  31. @Rand @Ge Rijn @ROB

    Egyptair flight MS804 suddenly disappears from radar at “Flight Level 370…”


  32. @Jeff

    Question please:

    Do you think the average B777 Captain is likely to know how long the APU would be expected to continue running after the left hand engine had flamed out due to fuel exhaustion?

    The ATSB say about 13.5 minutes, but I doubt if a pilot is likely to know this. The answer to this question would have significant implications for any pilot in control scenario.

  33. Latest BBC news on MS804:

    The plane made sharp turns and a descent before vanishing form radar.
    Other news; it did not sign off when leaving Greek air space to Greek air traffic control.

    Some of things that sound familiar.

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