Blaine Alan Gibson Finds 3 Possible MH370 Debris Pieces in Madagascar

The “second” piece


Hot on the heels of a reported possible MH370 piece in South Australia, news reaches us that Blaine Alan Gibson has found three pieces of suspected MH370 debris in Madagascar. This article says, in part:

Three new fragments which could have come from Malaysia Airlines Flight 270 were discovered on the morning of Monday, June 6, on the Island of Nosy Boraha, in the northeast of Madagascar…

These fragments were found by Blaine Alan Gibson, an American businessman, while he was accompanied by a from the France 2 TV show “Complément d’enquête.” They were on a long, almost deserted beach near the village of Sahasifotra, where tons of waste arrive every day from the Indian Ocean.

One piece in particular, 77 cm wide by 50 cm, apparently made by composite materials, strongly resembles another fragment which Gibson found in February on the coast of Mozambique.

” These two fragments are very very similar: the same paint color, the diameter of the attachment holes is identical. and on the back the texture is the same. I believe that it is a piece from MH370,” Blaine Alan Gibson told our colleagues. Two other parts were also found, a smaller panel with the inscription “FB” as well as another plastic part which could be the frame of an economy class seat’s video screen.

The “first” piece


The “third” piece

UPDATE 6/9/16: Here’s a screengrab of a YouTube video showing a Malaysia Airlines 777 economy class seatback (thanks to reader @sk999). The coat hook in particular looks like a good match for the third piece.

Economy class screen

Here’s an even better shot, via @BBCwestcott. Note the color of the fabric around the “COAT HOOK” button:


774 thoughts on “Blaine Alan Gibson Finds 3 Possible MH370 Debris Pieces in Madagascar”

  1. Greg Long, Gysbreght,

    On May 25, 2016 at 2:43 PM I wrote:
    “If someone is going to Madagascar to search for debris, I would suggest starting from Ambatoharana or Anaovandrano northward up to the Northern tip: 500 km of the shore.”

    On May 25, 2016 at 3:45 PM Paul Smithson asked:
    “Will you offer me odds that any bits arriving in Madagascar will fetch up on the southern third?”

    My response, May 25, 2016 at 4:50 PM:
    “Sorry, I would not rely on these odds. The northern third of the eastern shore is much more promising. I would give >50% to find at least 1 fragment there.”

    A few days ago I was hesitating whether I should include Point 4 into the section “Recommendations” of my ATT note. I have included it. I did not expect that these predictions could happen so quickly.

    The reason I am telling you this is simple. This is an outcome of the analysis. As the SIO search may end up soon with nothing, a question arises whether we are able to make specific recommendations for the future search, or we can only ‘chew’ the news. Discussions of the fundamentals, assumptions, technical aspects are essential in my opinion. Even if these seem to be boring for general public.

    Jeff is an owner of this platform, and it is up to him to decide what to discuss, in what format, and how to guide it. We have to either follow his rules, or leave. I do not see how my potential future contributions could be useful as recently they are against general trend at this blog.

  2. @Susie (I think),

    ..1 FB, you mentioned B = Bottom. F may be Front.

    This could be some kind of mounting instruction for somewhat symmetrical parts, where the correct mounting orientation is not easily recognisable or easily confused.

    @Oleksandr, @Gysbreght,

    While some times tardy, I still find your discussions important and interesting. I too hope you stick around and solve your differences.

  3. Some commitment of funds to searching the relevant coastlines now seems like a no brainer.

  4. @JS

    That was really what I was hinting at, but you are better at describing it. Surely we would expect more parts from other areas of the plane.

    I won’t mince words – frankly, I’m gob smacked, and that’s from an advocate of the controlled ditching scenario!

    But just to make things even more intriguing, we do have a piece from inside the cabin, a piece of partition from just inside of door 1R. And now possibly (not confirmed) a bit of a seat back.

    I will be honest. I’m having trouble making sense of it right now.

  5. @GeRijn

    Please excuse me, My usually infallible eye for detail temporarily suffered information overload. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible 🙂

  6. Jeff strange after 2 years also not a single barnacle again . Is it possible that someone will come up with another picture of the same photographed earlier maybe 3 or 4 months ago complete with barnacles and the report supposedly that the barnacles were so smelly that they left it alone at that time. You want barnacles, here they are

  7. @jeff wise

    Second your thoughts unconditionally especially the one posted at 11.11 up there. Yes, the absence of marine bio-fouling in the majority of the pieces excepting the first flaperon is puzzling and puts @dah ah’s contention in proper perspective.

    In any case the condition of these pieces, if provenance is affirmed, does suggest a relatively high speed impact the kind postulated by you and @ALSM. Just a question. Is it possible that a projectile hitting a plane would generate similar kinds of debris, the absence of burn marks notwithstanding? Your thoughts on that @jeff.

    By the way kudos to Blaine if provenance is indeed established. But the lack of any allocation in the official search budget to scour East African beaches as I highlighted previously remains mystifying?

  8. I still feel its MH17 debris! That debris was scattered for miles, anyone could have picked up some pieces to throw off the authorities! Jeff who was it that you recently banned didn’t he make some comment that more debris would be found soon etc. I won’t believe it till something more obvious comes directly from MH370! Still holding out hope, sending love to the families!

  9. Definitely off topic

    Hopefully what’s happening in the Egyptair search will have lessons for MH and vice versa. Interesting that the Egyptair plane made three emergency landings just prior to the actual crash.

    Just a passing observation, the longer strand of material on Blaine’s coat hook piece appears different to that in sk999’s photo. Either due to bleaching by salt water, exposure etc or my poor eyesight is to blame. Also numerous abrasions are visible on the surface as though some portions have been scrapped off.

  10. @Ge Rijn,

    I think you are right with 561 or 661 however they are long reference areas; the F tells you it’s the 6th panel in the zone and the B that it’s on the bottom.

    If you can find a good picture of the bottom of the wing you should be able to nail it.


  11. @Ge Rijn,

    I left out that the sequence is inboard to outboard; so its the sixth panel in the zone heading outboard.


  12. @Rob,

    Further along the same subject, my hunch, at the moment, is that all of the exterior parts came from the same side and very near the same place: engine cowling, flaperon, etc. I would not be surprised at all if some of the upper parts already found piece together. This is just a hunch, basically begging to be proven wrong.

    The interior parts are a separate issue. The color of the fabric on the seat back should narrow the source down to a handful of rows of Econ seats. It looks to me like they come from center-right F-G-H seats, which appear to alternate color every 5 rows, and not the last row, narrowing it to about 39 possible seats.

  13. @JS,

    When comparing the debris image to (the video showing the different coloured seats and coat hooks), the coat-hook on the left side of the debris panel allows for A-B-C (left aisle) and F-G-H (right 3 seats of the middle aisle).

    The side aisles’ seats also alternate colors, though the video doesn’t show blue seats. Do you know, that there are no blue seats in side aisles?

  14. @MuOne,

    I don’t know, and unless there is a March photo from -MRO, I wouldn’t claim to know. Based on other photos of Malaysia 777s, though, it looks like there are 5 rows of blue in the front Econ cabin, and 3+4 in the rear, with the last row a bulkhead and the last 2 rows 4 across, not 5.

    I can’t tel whether the fabric is blue or teal, and in any case it may have faded.

    But, the left side is not ABC but AB, and there are no pictures that I can find of blue or teal seats on the windows. They appear to always be purple and orange.

  15. @JS,

    Ooops. Looked again, and you are right, only 2 seats in the side aisle.

    Funny, how one (me) can repeatedly look at images, videos and still get such a major detail wrong.

    Goes to show, how unreliable eye-witness accounts are, mine included.

  16. @Victor: If – IF (I remain steadfastly agnostic on planted debris) it was planted, I assume it would be done so as to maximize the appearance of authenticity – taking into account where it might wash up, and its condition. Heck, if I were doing it, I’d have chucked some pieces out into the SIO many months ago, and literally let nature take its course.

    With that in mind: what has transpired in the past couple of months that would shift your assessed probability of planted debris? The “pre-photo” of Roy struck me as remarkably fortuitous.

  17. @Brock – I am with you on this debris appears to be planted. We kept asking for Madagagar debris and we got it right smack where it should be lacking bio fouling.

  18. @Oleksandr:

    Jeff and some of his posters are presently more interested in marine life than in aerodynamics. That could change, for example, if the FDR is recovered, so it is no reason to leave the forum. If you still have questions on aerodynamics or how to read the figure in your book that you found difficult to interpret you can email me.

  19. @ Oz, thanks for clarifying the panel numbering system.

    I too thought F was probably part of an alphabetical order, but am glad to know that B stands for bottom as I wasn’t sure about that.

    I’m eagerly looking forward to the ATSB conclusions on these items and the previous ones.

  20. The found LCD-mounting (to me it’s obvious now) is a seperate piece attached to the chair. I assume not much force is needed to seperate it. It must be an easy detachable piece for accesing and servicing the LCD unit. It’s complete and hardly damaged.
    The fabric can easily have been eroded (or eaten) away in those more than 2 years.

    For this reasons it still does not convince me of a high speed impact.
    On the contrary still.
    One more time the cabin photo (half way) to illustrate what I mean:

  21. @MuOne

    And it was me who brought up the ‘B’ and the ..1 FB (561 FB/661 FB) discussion.
    Never mind about credit though. It’s the mutual effort here that makes it nice and brings results.

  22. @Ge Rijn
    @Everyone Else

    Re the panel with FB stencil: Just an “educated” guess at this stage, but I think it’s a section of an underside closing panel for the outboard flap, the section immediately outboard of the flaperon. The area around the RH flaperon is where the majority of recovered debris has come from.

    Still a controlled ditching imo, even with the seat back. It could have easily floated out through door 1R, along with the closet piece. As you just pointed out, a lot of stuff would be dislodged during a ditching. No problem there.

  23. @ Ge Rijn

    I hope you are right, I think your theory about it being a flap panel or fairing of some description.

    (and if we’re being picky about the lettering – we both brought it up at almost the same time, on page 4 of the previous post…!)

  24. Another interesting feature regarding the coat hook piece is that the bit of fabric protruding beneath the hook still retains its bluish hue and pattern. In contrast, the long strand on the right appears faded. One plausible reason for this discrepancy is that the long piece was beneath the frame and in the process of the frame ripping off due to a violent impact, the fabric got ripped in the process thus exposing a bit of underlay.

    But even that allowance cannot convincingly explain as to why coat hook bit retained its colour and a bit of pattern to boot.

    And further the scratch marks or striae on the other parts do not appear to be abrasions arising from friction but more to do with the material being deliberately scrapped off.

    Just for the road, the pieces from Africa seemingly have a lot of “credibility” attached to their “authenticity ” even when they are devoid of biofouling and barnacles while this one discovered not far from where the plane was last spotted on ATC radar gets short shrift, barnacles and all:

    Must be rub of the green at work ;D

  25. @Susie

    Excuse me, you are right. I see you first made a suggestion about the meaning of ‘FB’.
    I made comparison of the ‘B’ being similar in the flaperon position number ‘657BB’ and possible position numbers …FB.

    Credit to you for that and offcourse for bringing in those pictures! 🙂

  26. Another to me somewhat disturbing feature of these two panels is they seem to be punctured on the surface by sharp knife-like objects.

    Considering the hole through that other found trailing edge being suspected of being caused by a small massive object hitting it with high speed this gives reason to some extra attention imo.

  27. @ Ge Rijn…as you say, we work together. I would not be able to do anything without your companionship here, we each bring something. Thank you for the links to the manual and all the other information you have provided.

    I find the thin cuts in these concerning, also.

  28. @ROB: “Re the panel with FB stencil: Just an “educated” guess at this stage, but I think it’s a section of an underside closing panel for the outboard flap, the section immediately outboard of the flaperon. ”

    As someone pointed out earlier, the numeral “1” points to a wing area near the tip, and as “F” indicates the 6th panel in that area in the sequence inboard to outboard, it is probably the bottom closing panel forward of the aileron closest to the wing tip.

  29. @MuOne – some 777s do indeed have 3-3-3 seating, so you weren’t necessarily wrong, but Malaysia seems to have used 2-5-2.


    Is that a hinge on the right side? I’d like to know what the mechanism for removing or opening the cover is. It can’t be too easy or pax would be popping them off all the time.

    It would be really helpful if the beach combers would photograph both sides of each piece.

  30. What a complete and utter crock of S***
    I’m seriously losing faith in humanity over here RE: MH370

    I do not buy a single piece of debris.

  31. @Brock McEwen: I first entertained the spoof scenario when there was no debris found from the plane, and I later considered a plant when there was only one piece (the flaperon). And the behavior of officials concerning the flaperon was bizarre–conflicting leaks, obvious false statements from officials, concealed conclusions, questions about provenance, buoyancy, barnacles, etc. Months later came the extraordinary find of Mr. Blaine Gibson, who was even personally offended when I asked questions about the circumstances of the find and the condition of the part. (In my mind, these were basic questions that any investigator would be asking, especially if there was any chance that there was tampering. As a lawyer, he should have understood this.)

    I am now swayed towards believing that the pilot had a plan to divert the plane to the SIO. I based this on many things, including Richard Godfrey’s drift analysis, the large number of recent debris finds, a review of FBI leaks regarding flight paths found on the simulator, Blaine Gibson’s demonstration that there is a high probability of finding debris at “hot spots”, Ed Baker’s perspective as a pilot, and flight path possibilities that satisfy the BTO/BFO data, albeit not with the same assumptions that led to the current search area.

    I cannot completely dismiss the possibility of very clever fabrication and tampering of evidence, and I regularly communicate with people that believe this scenario is most likely. I just don’t think this is as simple as other possibilities. I am always willing to reconsider it if we are presented with new evidence or a new interpretation.

    Part of the problem is that Malaysia has not made any official statements regarding any clues from its criminal investigation. Perhaps they uncovered evidence which incriminated the pilot or MAS, and for political and/or financial reasons, chose to keep the information sealed.

  32. @Victori

    A good analysis. In the end, some theories are much more complex than others. The simpler of them are most often correct.

    Usually, the conspiracy variety are untenably complex and one has to decide where to apply the most mental effort.

    The bullet is NEVER “pristine”.

  33. @Gysbreght

    Possibly you’re right, but I remain unconvinced.

    I would preferrably like to see a Boeing diagram showing the closing panel reference numbers, for confirmation. Pie in the sky, perhaps.

  34. Thinking about the holes and sharp cuts in several pieces of debris made think of a different scenario.

    Elal flight 1862 came in my mind. The 747 that crashed in the Bijlmer/Amsterdam.

    It lost the two engines on its right wing and after that was not able to land due to flaps and other right wing control surfaces that did not work for they were too damaged or not powered anymore.
    It was unable to savely land in any way.
    In fact it was only able to stay airborn with retracted flaps on both wings and maintaing a minimum speed.

    Could it be the right engine exploded shooting around compressorblades and other parts damaging at once all those right wing surfaces and electronical equipment in the E/Ebay and resulting in decompressuring of the cabin and seperated?

    Could it be after this happened it was only able to limited manouvres and also impossible to fly under a certain speed like ElaL 1862?
    Impossible to land safely any way?

  35. the way I see the damage to the pieces of debris seems caused by a hard landing on maybe on a poorly kept road which was used as a runway for MH370’s landing where rocks and assorted items got kicked up and bashed against these debris items…

  36. @Victor: thanks. And well argued.

    But everything you describe in the past remains very much in the present tense. An SIO path is a wonderfully simple theory – until you try to reconcile it to the primary radar record. Or the eyewitness record. Or the acoustic record. Or the surface debris record. Or the shoreline debris record (including Maldives). Or the deep sea scan record. Or the clear and deliberate misdirection campaign conducted by US, UK, Ox, and perhaps now South African officials and operatives.

    In each case, you must introduce a complexity. Sometimes not much of one (eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable, it cannot be denied) – but sometimes, you need a whopper of a coincidence. I’ve been looking into the a priori probability that the “Curtin Boom” was really just Carlsberg Ridge seismic activity. The results will – or should – give serious researchers considerable pause.

    I want the explanation to be simple. And innocent. With every drib and drab of “evidence” trotted out, my gut galvanizes more and more toward the belief that MH370’s true fate was complicated. And sordid.

    But I’m keen to hear how you reconcile some of these issues to your latest leaning. For instance: where is the seabed wreckage? Did the pilot do anything with the plane after fuel exhaustion – and if so, what?

    Thanks in advance for your time and energy – it is always appreciated.

  37. (Ox = Oz = Australia; I’ve not yet managed to work any “beasts of burden” into my conspiracy theories. Unless you count “there’s nothing to see here” online trolls…)

  38. @Brock
    “Or the clear and deliberate misdirection campaign conducted by US, UK, Ox, and perhaps now South African officials and operatives.”
    I wondered about Ox 🙂 . But did you mean to leave Malaysia off your list?

  39. @Brock McEwen: “Where is the seabed wreckage? Did the pilot do anything with the plane after fuel exhaustion – and if so, what?”

    The subsea search did not proceed very far north. For instance, 29-30S seems to satisfy all debris recovered to date. As for what the pilot did after fuel exhaustion, I have no idea, other than to say the BFO at 00:19 (even the first one) implies a descent faster than a glide. The wreckage recovered indicates either a high speed crash or a very unsuccessful ditching.

    Here is a quick tally of other points:
    1. Maldives: I’ve seen no evidence that the debris was from a B777, no is their proof that the eyewitnesses saw a B777.
    2. Misdirection: That is your interpretation, and I don’t intend to persuade you otherwise. Other than the Malaysians and the Chinese, I see no intent to deceive by any party.
    3. Seismic data: I have not delved into this as you and others have, but I note that the signal-to-noise ratio is low, and others such as @Oleksandr believe that the data does not preclude a crash at 29-30S. I’d entertain any new thoughts.
    4. Primary radar data: A path to the SIO is consistent with the official radar data. There are still radar anomalies regarding the speed, turning rate, and altitude I would like resolved, and have pushed for this. My current leaning is the pilot was performing high-skill manoeuvers to misdirect and evade radar.

    Why would the pilot want to fly to the SIO? I have no idea, but if the FBI reports are accurate that a flight path to the SIO was found on his simulator, and this was deleted just before the disappearance, I am not sure a motive is necessary to find the plane.

  40. From what has been leaked to the press, the pilot may have practised landing on an SIO island (presumably Cocos or Christmas Island), which is inconsistent with any alleged plan to crash the airplane (why practise landing in that case?). A spokesman also said “nothing sinister” has been found (I take it a practised diversion and crash in the SIO would be placed into that category).

  41. @Brock McEwen

    I know Victor will want to address your concerns in full, but if I may be excused one comment: To the question as to why no seabed wreckage yet? To me, the answer is glaringly obvious; they haven’t got that far south yet. He glided the plane up to 100Nm downrange of the 7th arc.

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