Has this Google Maps sleuth actually found missing flight MH370 in Cambodia?
A British man is sticking to his claim that the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 may be in the Cambodian jungle, after a Chinese satellite firm disputed his find. Ian Wilson now wants the site to be examined by helicopter.
Wilson has discovered what looks like the shape of an aircraft on Google Earth amid a thick patch of forest in Cambodia. The unusual find prompted him to speculate that the pixelated shape is none other than the Boeing 777-200ER which went missing in 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The story, first reported by the Daily Star, was picked up by other tabloids and soon led many to believe that the site of the long lost flight had finally been found.
While other potential findings of the plane had previously been dismissed as other aircraft flying in mid-air by experts, Wilson believes his was the real deal. Speaking to the Daily Star, he said that the aircraft he found in Cambodia was at ground level because Google Earth offers the option to "escape ground view" when close to the jet in the app.
Another factor making Wilson believe the blurred image he found was the downed Boeing 777-400 was the plane’s size. While conceding that the image shows the plane to be several meters bigger than the MH370 Boeing, Wilson makes the following observation:
"Measuring the Google sighting, you're looking at around 69 meters, but there looks to be a gap between the tail and the back of the plane. It's just slightly bigger, but there's a gap that would probably account for that."
However, despite the tabloid fanfare, Wilson’s claims were quickly disputed by others online.
Referencing the story on Twitter, Space View – a Chinese EO satellite data provider – said stakeholders had pleaded with the firm “to shoot at the site.”
While the image used on Google Earth dated from 2018, Space View dug out three images from its archive from 2015, 2016, and 2018 only to say: “Sorry, no plane found there.”
#MH370 sitting in the jungles in Cambodia? A man found 'the plane' in google map 2018. Stakeholders and bystanders plead Space View to shoot at the site. So we found out 3 images of GF-1, GF-2 and SV-1, shot in 2015, 2016 and 2018 from our archive. Sorry, no plane found there. pic.twitter.com/6a6zYqeIiC— Space View (@bjspaceview) September 6, 2018
Cambodia was also quick to label the report as “false news.” A spokesman for Cambodia’s civil aviation authority told Xinhua news agency that “there is no any evidence – information or data – to prove that it crashed in Cambodia.”
“Second, if this news was true, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia would make a hotline call to us for cooperation… But the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia has not contacted us on this issue,” spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha said, adding that there are no plans to search the area.
But Wilson remained adamant that the site needs to be examined further, with the Star even claiming that the coordinates used by Space View were not the same as the ones on Google Earth.
He hopes to survey the site via helicopter for further evidence.
Investigators believe flight MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean, although the truth to the mystery will never know until either the jet or black boxes are found.
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