Campaigners for families of people aboard missing flight MH370 have released photographs of personal items found washed up on a Madagascar beach.
They hope that friends or relatives of the 239 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines B777, which vanished on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014, may recognise some of the 20 items, which include purses, backpacks and part of a laptop case.
The only problem is that there is nothing to prove the items are connected with MH370 – other than the fact they were found on the same stretch of Madagascar beach as other items strongly suspected to have come from the doomed aircraft.
The items were found by US lawyer Blaine Gibson, who hunts for debris. He admitted to the BBC it was possible the items had “just fallen off a ship”.
“Still, I found them on the same 18km (11-mile) stretch of beach where I found suspected aircraft parts [of the Malaysia Airlines jet] so it is important that they are investigated properly.”
The personal items found include a white, black and red “Angry Bird” purse, a tartan handbag and part of a black laptop case inscribed with the letters “MENSA”. A few images of the items can be inspected on a BBC website and the full range can be seen on the Air Crash Support Group site, which links to a Dropbox list of the full 54 images.
Gibson recently found three pieces of debris in the same area, believed to have come from the plane, and another piece of debris in Mozambique in March, “which Australian investigators believe is almost certainly part of the missing plane”, the BBC said.
Some of the suspected debris does not spell good news for anyone clinging to the hope that the missing plane may have landed somewhere safely.
As aviation reporter Ben Sandilands writes in his Plane Talking blog on Crikey.com.au: “There is one thing which seems common to most of the likely or confirmed fragments of missing airliner MH370 that have to this day been recovered. They carry the telltale signs of violent impact with the sea surface.”
Evidence of “the force of a high-velocity high-pressure wall of water ripping through the cabin” does not indicate a gentle end to the flight, Sandilands notes.
Written by Peter Needham