Tim Akers believes he has discovered MH370 debris off the coast of Vietnam
He says satellite images appear to show tail, wings and other debris
Claims it is more likely plane crashed in South China Sea than Indian ocean
Authorities have been searching for aircraft off coast of Western Australia
Mr Akers had previously been studying Australian waters off Perth for years in search for remains of lost WWII ship – the HMAS Sydney
It comes as airline boss tells relatives of passengers onboard MH370 to go home and wait for further news
By JAMES RUSH and RICHARD SHEARS
1 May 2014
A British marine archaeologist claims to have found the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 more than 3,000 miles from where authorities are currently searching.
Tim Akers, 56, had been studying Australian waters off Perth for years in a search for the remains of the country’s lost WWII ship – the HMAS Sydney.
The search for the vessel was in the same waters that are believed to contain the missing flight MH370 off the coast of Western Australia.
British marine archaeologist Tim Akers believes he has discovered debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 more than 3,000 miles from where everyone has been looking
A massive search operation involving satellites, aircraft, ships and sophisticated underwater equipment capable of scouring the ocean floor has failed to turn up any trace of the Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8.
But Mr Akers, of North Yorkshire now thinks he might have discovered where the flight, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went down after it went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
He claims to have identified what he believes is part of the tail of the jet off the coast of Vietnam – just around 1,000 miles from where the plane took off.
His findings appear to support reports this week from a US former pilot Michael Hoebel, from New York, who believes he found the wreckage of the flight off the coast of Thailand.
Mr Akers – who is referenced as an independent researcher with the National Maritime Museum – said he has now identified sections of the aircraft close to where Vietnam authorities received a report from oil workers who saw a plane burning coming out of the sky.
He said it was more plausible the jet crashed in the South China Sea than making it to the south Indian Ocean.
Images taken by Mr Akers from satellite scans appear to show what he claims are a ‘tail’, ‘wings’ and other debris.
He said: ‘The problem with the debris field in the southern Indian Ocean is that it has to be considered – what other material could be mimicking the debris?
‘The only material that could be giving off signals randomly and persistently and multi-coloured debris is remnants from the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 which is still trapped in currents.
‘The Japanese earthquake was the same magnitude and its debris is still travelling across the Pacific Ocean – it too will have things which are making noise on scans in the sea.
‘The very fact that no debris from a crashed aircraft has been seen or found at sea or on land or beach in Australia so far gives good reason to doubt there’s any truth in it ever having been there.
‘Reports from the pilot in the US that the plane is seen off Thailand would back up my findings because the plane would break up soon afterwards and the currents in that region are strong.’
Mr Aker said he believes in the South China Sea there have been witnesses, debris, aviation fuel and what he believes are jet aircraft parts.
He said it also appeared on his images that ships registered to Vietnam have been in contact with the wreckage.
He said: ‘There’s no question it could be anything else, because aircraft parts are very distinctive.
‘Having seen the oil rig worker’s report of the crash and NASA’s satellite images of the area it would seem strange the Malaysian authorities have dismissed the area out of hand.
‘Logically they should have checked it out by aircraft at low altitude and by a surface warship, but it looks like they chose not to. That in itself is very odd.
‘Fortunately the water there is shallow as it’s on the continental shelf and there will be debris all over the sea floor.’
Earlier this week, Australian tech firm GeoResonance said it had found what it believed was wreckage of a plane in the Bay of Bengal that should be investigated as potential debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, but the possibility was dismissed by search coordinators.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) managing the multinational search for the missing plane said it believed that the plane came down in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia.
Australian geophysical survey company GeoResonance said it had been conducting its own search for the plane and had found what appeared to be plane wreckage in the Bay of Bengal, thousands of miles from the current search area.
PREVIOUS ‘SIGHTINGS’ BY INVESTIGATORS FROM ACROSS THE WORLD
Marine archaeologist Tim Akers is not the first who believes he may have found debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
From tech firms to web sleuths, there have been a number of possible sightings put forward by those investigating the disappearance.
On Tuesday, Australian private company GeoResonance claimed its sensor technology had found the wreckage of a plane in the Bay of Bengal, 118 miles south of Bangladesh.
The company said images taken of the same spot five days earlier showed it had appeared between March 5 and March 10. The plane disappeared on March 8.
A graphic from GeoResonance shows images depicting underwater ‘anomalies’ suggesting deposits of various metals in the approximate formation of a passenger airliner on the floor of the Bay of Bengal
‘The company is not declaring this is MH370, however it should be investigated,’ GeoResonance said in a statement.
The company’s director, David Pope, said he only went public with the information after he felt the authorities were disregarding it.
On Monday meanwhile, it was reported that a pilot from New York believed he had found the wreckage off the coast of Thailand after searching thousands of satellite images online.
Michael Hoebel, 60, spent hours trawling through the images made available to the public on a crowd-sourcing website, TomNod.com, before coming across what he believed was the plane.
The recreational pilot from Tonawanda said he was shocked to discover that the aircraft appeared to be in one piece beneath the water off the northeast coast of Malaysia, just west of Songkhla in Thailand. The image was taken days after the crash.
He told WIVB that he used the scale at the bottom of the map on TomNod and compared them to the specifications on Boeing’s website to establish that the white figure he saw was the perfect size.
Soon after the plane went missing, internet investigators from across the world were joining in the search by turning to TomNod.
Singer Courtney Love was just one of the website’s users who seemingly spent hours poring over images.
She posted a photograph of satellite imagery from the site on her Facebook page and suggested: ‘I’m no expert but up close this does look like a plane and an oil slick.’
Elsewhere, users of social networking site Reddit posted an image which they claim appears to show debris from the plane in the Strait of Malacca.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday the chance of finding floating debris was now remote, and a new phase of the search would focus on the seabed northwest of the Australian city of Perth.
Mr Akers has been searching for the missing aircraft by processing data from satellite images from Landsat 7 – NASA’s primary photographic satellite and the basis for Google Earth
In August 2006 Mr Akers claimed to the local press in Wetherby, North Yorkshire, to have found HMAS Sydney – despite 60 years of government and international searches.
His claim was then seemingly verified in March 2008 when the wreck was discovered by American marine scientist David Mearns near the same location Mr Akers had predicted off the coast of Australia.
Mr Akers said he uses a method of combining images from different parts of the light spectrum. Using software he developed he said he is able to look underground 75ft under the Earth and 10,000 feet under the sea.
Mr Akers has published his claims on his site australias-titanic.com.