Is Blaine Alan Gibson Planting MH370 Debris? — UPDATED

UPDATED 12/12/16: Just to underline the extraordinary implausibility of Blaine Alan Gibson’s finds, I’ve taken the extra step of putting in bold the three (3) separate occasions when Gibson hit the jackpot with a one-in-a-million stroke of luck. See if you can spot them below. My personal favorite is the one with the ATV.

On December 8, 2016, the Twitter account voice370 (@cryfortruth) Tweeted the following:

In a Facebook post the same day, Grace Subathirai Nathan (one of the NOK on the current debris-finding expedition to Madagascar) posted about the same find:

Another piece of debris found earlier today. This time by private citizen Blaine Alan Gibson while he was with two French journalists Pierre Chabert and Renaud Fessaguet.
He walked past the spot on the beach where next of kin Jiang Hui found a piece yesterday and nothing was there then 30 mins later on the way back the waves washed the piece on debris to the shore.
This just goes to show that debris can be there one minute and gone the next and vice versa.

She included some of the images that were also in the Tweet, among them this one:


I’ve already written in the comment section of the preceding post that I find it quite extraordinary that a purported piece of MH370 apparently washed up on the shore within half an hour of Blaine’s passing by the spot. The ocean is vast, the number of pieces of MH370 necessarily limited. The odds of finding a piece of the plane on any given stretch of sand is very small; the odds of finding something that washed ashore within the last half hour must be infinitesmal.

One would also would not expect a newly washed-ashore piece of debris to be free of biofouling, as I’ve discussed before. Something that just came out of the ocean, if free of biofouling, must have spent time ashore, gotten picked clean, then washed back out to sea, only to come ashore again within a few days. Truly miraculous.

I’ve voiced suspicions in the past about Gibson’s self-financed investigation. He said that he found his first piece of MH370 debris, so-called “No Step,” 20 minutes after starting his first beach search. Though it was found on a sand bar that is awash at high tide, it, too, was remarkably free of biofouling. Since then, he has found more than half of the pieces of suspected debris. All have have been completely innocent of marine life. His finds have excited remarkably little enthusiasm among the authorities; the Malaysians waited six months to retrieve one batch, and then only made that effort after their inaction was the subject of unflattering news stories.

Gibson is clearly an eccentric; before he found “No Step” he was bouncing around the Indian Ocean littoral, investigating crackpot theories and making himself known to the authorities and next-of-kin. In the past he has, he says, tried to find the Ark of the Covenant. A recent article in the Guardian had this bit:

Blaine Gibson, a lawyer turned investigator who arrived on Madagascar six months ago, said he has seen debris from the plane used to fan a kitchen fire by a nine-year-old girl on the island.

“It was light and it was solid and it was part of the plane,” said Gibson, 59. “When I put the word out around the village, another guy turned up with another piece he had been using as a washing board for clothes.”

Are we to believe that he walked up on a girl fanning a fire and, lo and behold, she happened to be fanning it with a piece of MH370? Instead of any of a billion suitable small, light, flat objects that exist in the world? What’s more, I am troubled by Gibson’s suggestion that the residents of this region are so materially impoverished that they would eagerly size on any scrap of material that comes their way and put it to immediate use—to incorporate into a shelter, to burn for fuel, to fan a fire with, or to use as a washboard. In fact I find this idea rather bonkers.

Some people feel that it is unacceptable to question Blaine Alan Gibson; they say that he has inspired and given hope to the next-of-kin. As I’ve said before, I feel that if we are going to solve this mystery, we have to put every piece of evidence under intense scrutiny, regardless of however someone may or may not feel emotionally about that scrutiny.

Indeed, I find the fact that Gibson and his associates try to aggressively silence questions about his finds even more arousing of suspicion.

UPDATE 12/11/16: A couple of points I’d like to add to the above:

— In September, Gibson enlisted the aid of Australian aviation journalist Geoffrey Thomas in claiming that two pieces of debris that he’d found likely came from the electronics bay, showed evidence of fire damage, and therefore supported the hypothesis that the plane had come to grief due to an accidental fire. This theory, while favored by some, is very much at odds with other evidence in the case. Australian authorities responded by saying that “contrary to speculation there is no evidence the item was exposed to heat or fire.”

— More on Gibson’s background from SeattleMet:

For the next 25 years, Gibson lived a life that could be described as unconventionally adventurous. After a short stint at Seafirst, he moved to Olympia and worked for three years in the office of Washington state senator Ray Moore. Then he joined the U.S. Department of State. But he didn’t last long there either; in the late ’80s he could see that the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse and decided to capitalize on it. For 10 years he lived off and on in the newly capitalist Russia, serving as a consultant to new business owners and fattening a bank account that would later fund his globe-trotting.

When I interviewed him after the “No Step” find, he told me that he speaks fluent Russian.

— Based on the total quantity of debris found in the last year and a half, one observes that the pieces turn up quite infrequently. Yet Gibson has now twice found debris with a camera crew present. In June he found three pieces while accompanied by a crew from the France 2 TV show “Complément d’enquête.” From the same SeattleMet piece:

In the first week of June he did, in fact, go to Madagascar. And on June 6 he led a French television news crew to a thin strip of land off the island’s east coast. They rode quads along the beach, and at the north end he signaled for the party to stop. The camera crew had a good reason to follow him: He is, to this day, still the only person to find a piece of Flight 370 while actually looking for it. And he’d done enough research to have a good idea where he might find more. But come on, it was still a one-in-a-million find. There’s no way he’d actually uncover another.

With the cameras trained on him, Gibson dismounted and started walking. And as he got closer to the object that had caught his eye, he could see that it was gray fiberglass. It was almost a clone of No Step. Later, he found a handful of other pieces, one of which looked exactly like the housing for a seat-back TV monitor. He couldn’t be sure, but he had a pretty good idea they came from Flight 370.

To recap, Blaine and a TV crew rode in ATVs along the beach until he signaled them to stop, got out, and pointed to a piece of MH370 debris. Holy. Shit.

— This is the piece that NOK Jiang Hui found the day before Blaine discovered his on the same beach. Again, pretty clean:



— Note: I’ve take out a paragraph in the original in which I said that the location of the debris in the sand appears to be way too far from the water to have washed up there within the last half hour. Several commenters pointed out that the piece appears to straddle the wet/dry line demarcating the high water mark, and I concede that point.

UPDATE 12/12/16: There’s a story in Der Spiegel today about a tree trunk that washed up in New Zealand. The remarkable size and density of these organisms is so striking that this entirely natural phenomenon struck those who came upon it as something fantastical and alien.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Muriwai local Rani Timoti walks to see a large driftwood tree covered in gooseneck barnacles on Auckland's west coast on December 12, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The large object washed up on Muriwai beach on Saturday, 10 December. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Large Barnacle Covered Object Washed Up On Muriwai Beach

I bring this up to emphasize how extraordinary it is that all the debris recovered by Blaine Alan Gibson, and indeed all of the suspected pieces of MH370 debris save two, have been recovered in a nearly pristine state. Yes, objects which spend some time ashore can become picked clean in time. But many of the pieces of debris recovered so far have been found within hours of being deposited. As I’ve previously written in some detail, such pieces would be expected to be colonized by a variety of marine organisms. If you look at galleries of objects which have washed ashore after having spent a similar amount of time at sea, such as tsunami debris collected in the US Northwest and Hawaii, it collectively looks very, very different from MH370 debris. Don’t take my word for it; there are links to such image galleries at the end of the piece linked above.


308 thoughts on “Is Blaine Alan Gibson Planting MH370 Debris? — UPDATED”

  1. Just an addendum that I missed placing at the end of a previous post of mine;

    ..FYI, the goose barnacle covered log seen in the two pictures at the end of
    the Topic Lead-In (at the head of this page) was located on Muriwai beach
    (New Zealand), at the Muriwai Creek end of the beach, roughly west of NZWP;
    To consider this from the point of view of an equivalent latitude, if the log
    were in South African waters, it would be about 160nmi directly south of
    Mossel Bay, South Africa (i.e. around 300km directly south).
    340552S0221051E -> 364725S0221051E

  2. @RetiredF4, Could you elaborate what systems are capable of tracking targets from 1400 nm away?

    @Christine, @DennisW is pulling your leg. Mike Chillit’s speculations are pure fever dream.

  3. @TBill

    23:57 for the time of sunrise in the ATSB terminal area is the figure I get as well. The Sun was some 4.7deg above the horizon (from NOAA Solar Calculator)at 00:19. 15 minutes later, it would have been about 6deg above the horizon. If the pilot had planned to synchronize ditching with sun angle, then I think this could be evidence he arrived at flameout a bit later (say 15 minutes later) than he anticipated. I know this is controversial, and not everyone here will agree with me, but I think he estimated that a constant M0.81 would lead to fuel exhaustion at the “right” time, because by my calcs, he commanded the autopilot to fly at M0.81, as he approached the FMT at IGOGU. It could be that the flight south was slightly more fuel efficient than anticipated. Then, possibly something went wrong for him on the flight south. He may have needed to depressurize the cabin again (assuming of course, it was depressurized immediately after the takeover – something we will never be sure of without the black boxes). But it seems to me the pilot was no longer alive by 00:19. If he had still been in control, I think he would have dumped 15 minutes worth of fuel as he approached the 7th arc, to make sure of the right lighting conditions at burnout. The scenario is also supported by the apparent uncontrolled descent at burnout.

  4. @jwise

    “Could you elaborate what systems are capable of tracking targets from 1400 nm away?”

    Have you forgotten about OTHR. JORN for example can cover that range if all the marbles align.

    I’m still here, just lurking these days.

  5. @Jeff Wise
    “@RetiredF4, Could you elaborate what systems are capable of tracking targets from 1400 nm away?”

    The E-3 Sentry has a 360° radar range of more than 250 NM, and the aircraft itself an unrefueled range of over 5.000 NM.

    Other early warning aircraft from nations around the Andamans have a similar radar capability, although not the unrefueled range of the E-3 Sentry.

    Combat ships are equipped with radar systems to defend against incoming missiles and approaching aircraft, one of them is the Aegis system.

    DG does have a radar installation, I’m not privy yet as to its capabilities. Let’s,assume it is poor and only covers 250 NM, then one E-3 and one Aegis equipped ship are sufficient to cover the airspace between the DG radar capability and the area to the assumed FMT.

    In reality all datas of ground- , ship- and airborne radar data would be processed to one overall theater overview, depicting the air situation of that area and would be available to the respective units and their commanders, and for sure one place for such a control and command center would be DG. For a nation like US there is therefore no need for an OTH radar to look from DG all the way to the malacca street, they have flexible assets to achieve the necessary goal.

    If my memory is correct, at the time of the Mh370 disappearance the joint exercise Cope Tiger took place in the vicinity of the FMT. It is fair to assume that there were electronic eyes available in this area.

    The discussion, that a flight to Europe would have been bettter suited for a late discovery disregards some other facts besides the loss of primary radar contact. As the chain of events shows clearly, the loss of secondary radar contact, ACARS, SAT and VHF communications was noticed immidiately. The search on the scopes and communication attempts was focused to the area where MH370 was scheduled to proceed from last known secondary radar position. Thailand and Cambodia probably focused their primary radars to that area, and Malaysia probably did the same.

    On a flight to europe the same thing would have happened. The loss of secondary radar contact (range greater than primary radars) and all comms would have been apparent immidiately, and all radars including airborne ones would have searched for the lost aircraft. This search would have been much closer to the FMT and the focus of all neighbouring nations including ships and EW aircraft would have started earlier and closer to the point of departure from planed flight path. If fuel or time constraints would have mattered I could agree, but not for deception purposes.

    Some info on the newest secondary radar in this theater, the indians use it also in the Chennai FIR

  6. yeah they have the possiblity but why would E-3 hover around FMT area at the time? Only by a sheer coincidence, very small chance for that.

  7. @ROB
    Thank you for the sunrise time confirmation as I was just thinking my planetarium program could be out of date. Can you elaborate on your theory? You meant assuming he did NOT depressure earlier, right? Why would he dump fuel? My thought is any fuel dump would be in darkness to hide the plume, and flame-out maybe in sunlight to hide the flame-out, although no one seems to know what that flame out would look like visually.

    @RetiredF4 @DennisW
    Presumably hijack of a hypothetical flight to Europe would have an IGARI-like U-turn, presumably finally heading south at 10N/90E per the simulator run.

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