The Maldives Civil Aviation Authority (MCAU) and the police have started collaborating with the Malaysian Aviation Department in the search for the lost Malaysian flight MH370 after four islands reported discovering pieces suspected to be debris from a plane.
Last week, one year and four months after the Boeing 777 aircraft disappeared with 239 passengers on board, Malaysian authorities confirmed that debris found on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean is the flaperon of MH370.
Kaafu atoll Vahbinfaru, Baa atoll Fehendhoo, Baa atoll Fulhadhoo and Haa Alif atoll Uligan have all reported finding pieces of “plane debris” washed ashore.
“We have collected several pieces of debris already. We will now analyse and send the data to the Malaysian Aviation Department,” said MCAU Chief Hussain Jaleel.
The police and MCAU will act on the instructions from the Malaysian Aviation Department.
A member of the Fehendhoo island council, Mohamed Ibrahim said of debris found on the island: “It’s an 8-feet long thing, very heavy, with styrofoam inside and hard on the outside. We don’t know what it is.”
However, skeptics say the pieces washed ashore look more like plastic walls used to build rooms in resorts in Maldives than part of a plane.
“It’s very similar to walls used in resorts. It was in rectangular shaped. I don’t think it is part of a plane,” said Mohamed Mauroof, a member of the Fulhadhoo island council.
The police also told Maldives Independent that some of the pieces do not look like part of a plane while other pieces resemble debris.
“The investigation is still ongoing. We cannot conclude anything before the investigation is over,” a police spokesperson said.
On March 8, 2014, the same day MH370 disappeared, several people from the island of Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll reported seeing a low flying plane with similar colours to that of the missing flight.
“I went for a ride with a child that morning. When it flew over he wanted to look at it and I saw it was flying lower than usual,” Ahmed Shiyam, 35, a computer engineer said. “I did not really look to see that well. But after I looked at the photos of MH370 I saw that it was very similar to the plane I saw that morning.”
However, the Maldivian authorities said that the rumoured sightings of Malaysian flight MH370 over Kudahuvadhoo were false.
The discovery of debris on Reunion have triggered speculation that the Kudahuvadhoo islanders indeed saw MH370.