Did missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 fly to little lost island of Diego Garcia?
April 07, 2014
SITTING like a misshapen wishbone in the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, Diego Garcia is one of the world’s most remote locations.
Administered by the United Kingdom but home to a US Naval Base, the island has had no indigenous inhabitants since they were forcibly relocated to other islands in the Chagos Archipelago, as well as Mauritius and the Seychelles, in 1971.
The island is so little-known that it has been rumoured that the US authorities have used it as a base for a secret prison. Even its name is suggestive of a Bond villain.
The island, which is 3600km from Africa’s east coast and 4700km northwest of Australia, is home to 1700 military personnel and 1500 civilian contractors.
It has a runway large enough to accommodate commercial aircraft — and was even deemed suitable for a landing by the US Space Shuttles in the event of an emergency.
Because of its remoteness and its runway, Diego Garcia has been suggested as a possible location for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
This theory was given some credence when it was discovered that the island’s landing strip was programmed into the home flight simulator of MH370’s pilot, Captain Zaharie Shah.
An FBI investigation found “nothing sinister” about the flight simulator files, but attention has returned to MH370’s pilot after it was reported that the plane had deliberately avoided radar detection in the early hours of March 8 by skirting around Indonesian airspace.
The idea that MH370 landed in Diego Garcia has been championed by American blogger Jim Stone, whose website presents a bewildering array of theories about major news events.
Stone has claimed that an American MH370 passenger, Philip Wood, managed to send a text from his iPhone stating that he was being held hostage by unknown military personnel, along with GPS coordinates. Those coordinates revealed a location a few kilometres away from Diego Garcia, Stone claimed.
However, contributors to the website Metabunk have argued that it is quite easy to fake a mobile phone’s GPS coordinates.
Analysis of flight information — and the recent detection of underwater signals believed to have come from a black box flight recorder — point strongly to the theory that MH370 met its end in the waters of the southern Indian Ocean.