An aviation technology expert is working to raise funds for an operation that can ascertain if unidentified debris in the waters between Malaysia and India belong to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Andre Milne, who has been voluntarily investigating the case of the missing plane, is trying to raise nearly $2 million to prove his theory.
Milne, who aims to follow up on a theory that the missing plane may have ended up near the Maldives, hopes to crowdfund the project by raising about $10 from every donor who supports the project, the U.K.'s Mirror reported. Flight MH370, which went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board has become the subject of an unprecedented international search effort that is currently focused in the southern Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles southwest of Milne's proposed search zone.
“This area is not being searched. I need your help in order to verify one way or another whether this is in fact MH370,” Milne said, in a video posted on a website, adding: “If you want to see whether or not this aircraft is in this site please participate in the crowd-sourcing venture.”
The appeal from Milne comes as government officials from Australia, China and Malaysia said last week that they would double the search area for the plane if it was not found by May in the priority zone, which is currently located about 1,100 miles off the coast of Western Australia. Efforts to locate the plane have continued for over a year and cost millions of dollars, making it the most expensive search operation in aviation history.
Milne believes that Flight MH7370 moved north after going off radar based on claims from locals who say they spotted a plane flying south past the Maldives before circling back over the lower Bay of Bengal, Express News reported. Residents of the island of Kudahuvadhoo, in Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives have claimed that they heard a loud noise while others described seeing a "low-flying jumbo jet" around the same time as the disappearance of Flight MH370.
However, a statement from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), which is monitoring the ongoing international search efforts, earlier this week refuted claims about the plane being near the Maldives. “Theories suggesting the aircraft is located to the north or significantly to the west of Sumatra are not supported by known facts or careful analysis. It is for this reason the aircraft cannot be in Kazakhstan, Diego Garcia or the Maldives,” JACC said, in the statement.
“We keep on checking because until we find the aircraft everyone can say ‘well you must be looking in the wrong place because you haven’t found it’” Martin Dolan, chairman of the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau, which is leading the search operation, reportedly told News Corp Australia, adding that officials would continue to sift through the plane’s last known communications to ensure nothing was overlooked.
Here's a video of Milne's appeal for funds: