Sunday, March 6, 2016

Never give up hope, says US blogger on one-man mission to solve MH370 mystery

When news about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 broke out two years ago, Blaine Alan Gibson was at his home sorting out boxes of his parents' belongings. He had just sold off his family home of 45 years and somehow, the news that the Beijing-bound plane vanished shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, had hit him hard emotionally. Curious over what could have happened to the Boeing 777 and the fate of the 239 people on board, the 58-year-old lawyer and blogger decided to make it his personal crusade to resolve the mystery. His quest soon took him to various places and countries. Not only did he comb the shorelines and beaches for any debris that could point him to finding the plane, he also worked meticulously on information and interviewing witnesses to learn more about the incident. His first break came on February 28, when he found a piece of a panel in a sandbank of Paluma, about 10km from the coastal town of Vilankulosson, Mozambique. "Someone spotted it and gave it to me. It looked like a piece of a plane but I cannot say for sure if it is from MH370. "If it is part of the missing plane, then I just found a piece of a big puzzle and if not, I hope it will create awareness among the locals and the rest of the world to keep on the lookout for the missing plane," he said. Gibson added that the locals he spoke to were clueless about the incident and no one had alerted them to be on the lookout for any debris of the missing airliner. He said the fragment he found was made of a fiberglass composite with the words "NO STEP" printed on one side. Last July, a wing fragment was found washed ashore the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, later confirmed to be from MH370. It was about 2,100km between the two sites. After handing over the debris to the aviation authority, Gibson flew to Kuala Lumpur to attend the memorial for MH370, attended by relatives and family members of the Malaysian passengers. Gibson said this was not the first time he attended the memorial. He was here last year and met some of the family members. "I have planned to be here even before I found the NO STEP panel," he said. On the possible theory on what happened to the plane and its passengers and crew, Gibson has none. "I want to find the truth. That is my objective. "I don't have any theory. To me there's not enough evidence to come up with a theory. I have to collect enough evidence to be able to form one," he said, adding that family members should never give up hope in finding the plane. "It is not just me. There are a lot of people committed to finding the truth, to continue the search and to know what happen to the flight. "We can't give up. We have to find out and continue searching," he said. On the search efforts, Gibson said the Australian government had done a lot and beyond expectation in their search for the missing plane. "I am not here to point fingers or pick on the past mistakes. What we need is to be more transparent. We need to hear official result. We need to have openness, radar records, satellite records, needed to be released to the public, including the official report such as the raw Immarsat data. "What we need now is to gain access to the reports and data gathered through the search. "We need to hear what the oceanographers have, what the investigators in French found as well as the witnesses, the biologists. We need to hear those reports," said Gibson. Meanwhile, at the special ceremony today family members from China and India joined the Malaysian families for the second anniversary of the jet's disappearance. Apart from prayers and musical performances, they also released 240 white balloons, each marked with the names of the passengers and crew and another for the plane. Jacquira Gonzales, the wife of MH370 inflight supervisor Patrick Gomes said the families were praying that the search will contiue. "For MH370, we all love you and miss you. This will not be the end. We will not give up," she said. The event, which started at 3pm at Publika shopping mall in Damansara lasted for two hours. – March 6, 2016.]]>

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