Maldives residents, scientists say MH370 may have flown past island
Locals from the Maldives are claiming that they saw a low-flying plane near the island of Kudahuvadhoo on the day flight MH370 disappeared.
If what they say is true, it means MH370 may have crashed more than 5,000km away from the current search area in the open sea west of Perth.
The islanders made a similar claim last year soon after the plane went missing.
Their recent claim came as acoustic scientists from Curtin University refused to rule out the possibility that sound data recorded in that area at the estimated time of the crash may have come from the impact of the aircraft as it hit the Indian Ocean, reported Mail Online.
The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on March 8 last year while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 239 people on board.
Calculations based on satellite connections suggest the plane crashed within a 180km arc southwest of Perth, reported The Independent.
For the past year, ships and planes have been searching the 60,000 sq km area. So far, there has been no sighting of debris or indication of a plane on the sea bed.
Yet residents of the island, located in the Maldive's Dhaalu Atoll are adamant they saw a low flying passenger jet.
The Independent quoted a resident as saying: "I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before.
"We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly."
Express quoted another resident as saying: "This is the biggest plane I have ever seen from this island. I have seen pictures of the missing plane.
"I believe I saw the plane. I strongly felt those people who were searching should come here."
Residents said that they believe the saw the red and blue insignia on the plane.
A statement by Curtin University said:
Data from one of the Integrated Marine Observing System recorders showed a clear acoustic signal at a time that was reasonably consistent with other information relating to the disappearance of MH370. The crash of a large aircraft in the ocean would be a high energy event and expected to generate intense underwater sounds.
The statement went on to say that the sound could have been an earth tremor of other geological event, but that the timing of it made the team curious.
Sources: Mail Online, Express, The Independent