Debris recently discovered in the Maldives and suspected by some to be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 likely came from a capsized boat, various media outlets reported this week. As investigators traveled Monday to the Indian Ocean archipelago to analyze the parts, the captain of a barge that wrecked off the Maldives’ coast earlier this year told Haveeru he thought they originated from his vessel.
“From the pictures of the debris found on most of the islands, I can almost certainly say that they are from the cargo we were carrying,” said Captain Abdulla Rasheed, whose barge capsized Feb. 10 while transporting 4,000 wall panels to nearby Raa Atoll. Three of his crew members went missing after the incident, and his boat was found 30 miles away.
Authorities in the Maldives were storing several flat pieces of unidentified wreckage in a warehouse this week ahead of the arrival of a team of Malaysian investigators searching for MH370, CNN reported. Their first order of business was determining whether the debris could be connected to an aircraft, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said in a statement Monday. “At this stage, it is highly premature to speculate on whether this debris is in any way connected to MH370,” he added.
— Randy Olson (@randal_olson) August 11, 2015
MH370 and the 239 people on board disappeared March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. An exhaustive, yearlong search of the Indian Ocean yielded no results, but last week the Malaysian prime minister confirmed that a plane flaperon found on Reunion Island belonged to the plane. Further testing was ongoing.
Some experts said it was impossible for MH370 wreckage to wash up both on Reunion Island and in the Maldives. “If the debris originated from where we’re talking about in the Southern Hemisphere, none of it actually would have gone northward,” University of Western Australia oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi told News.com.au. “It can’t cross the hemispheres because of the wind and the current patterns.”
This wasn’t the Maldives’ first brush with the MH370 case. Shortly after the plane went missing last year, residents alerted authorities and insisted they had seen a low-flying jumbo jet near their island. Investigators were skeptical at the time, International Business Times previously reported.