A report this week claimed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 has landed and didn’t crash into the Indian Ocean more than a month ago amid conspiracy theories that the plane ended up on the U.S. base of Diego Garcia.
A U.S. embassy official in Malaysia stressed that the plane never got anywhere close to Diego Garcia.
However, the New Straits Times in Singapore reported that the Kuala Lumpur-based International Investigation Team (IIT) are starting over again in the hunt for missing jet. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak last month said the plane ended up in the Southern Indian Ocean, which is where search efforts have been focused.
“We may have to look into this if no positive results come back in the next few days – but at the same time the search mission in the Indian Ocean will go on,” an official was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying. “The thought of it landing somewhere else is possible as we have not found a single piece of debris that could be linked to MH370.”
The official added: “However, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd.”
Australian and Chinese ships detected the pings from black boxes in the Southern Indian Ocean but found nothing.
The IIT official said there’s fears the search team is “looking for the plane in the wrong place.”
“We can’t focus on one place too long as the ocean is very big although the search team has been following the leads received and analysed. It is by luck if we find the wreckage using the Bluefin 21…there is no physical evidence and we are totally depending on scientific calculations from day one including from the pings,” the official continued.
Diego Garcia is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean and is used by the U.S. as a military base. Another related conspiracy theory claimed that IBM engineer Philip Wood, who was on the plane, tweeted a photo from Diego Garcia, but that turned out to be an elaborate hoax perpetrated by the 4Chan imageboard. 4Chan is known to have spread hoaxes in the past.
On Thursday, CNN reported that the Malaysian prime minister said his government is still not prepared to say that the 239 on board are all dead.
“At some point in time I would be, but right now I think I need to take into account the feelings of the next of kin — and some of them have said publicly that they aren’t willing to accept it until they find hard evidence,” Razak told CNN.
However, he added that it’s “hard to imagine otherwise.”