MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. After the disappearance, numerous people believed they found debris that could be from the plane washed up on Australia’s west coast. However, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) dismissed the claims, citing drift modelling undertaken by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (ASMA) that suggested floating debris would have floated west, away from Australia.
The ATSB website stated: “The ATSB continues to receive messages from members of the public who have found material washed up on the Australian coastline thinking it may be wreckage or debris from MH370.
“The ATSB reviews all this correspondence carefully, but drift modelling undertaken by the ASMA has suggested that if there are any floating debris it is far more likely to have travelled west, away from the coastline of Australia.
“It is possible that some materials may have drifted to the coastline of Indonesia and an alert has been issued in that country requesting that the authorities be alerted to any possible debris from the aircraft.”
However, according to Jeff Wise’s 2015 book ‘The Plane That Wasn’t There’, a pioneering ocean researcher claimed the currents should take the wreckage eastwards towards Australia.
Retired professor of Oceanography at the University of Washington Curtis Evismeyer reportedly claimed the South Indian current should have been carrying MH370 wreckage eastwards at a rate of 5-10 miles per day.
If his model is correct, debris would have been due to arrive on the beaches of western Australia between mid-June and late-September 2014.
Mr Evismeyer said if we assume that a million fragments broke off the plane on impact and that a 0.1 percent reached the coast, there would be 1000 objects on the shore, around one per mile of coastline.
He reportedly called this “not too bad odds”.
However, a non-profit organisation called the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, which organises an annual Western Australia beach clean-up, failed to find any MH370 debris in October 2014.
This is despite 1500 volunteers combing 130 beaches for litter and debris, with MH370 firmly in their mind.
Moreover, the only piece of debris found on a beach in Western Australia that managed to hit headlines – a hunk of aluminium discovered on April 23 2014 – was analysed by the ATSB and determined that it was not from an aircraft.
The ATSB have not confirmed where the object actually came from.