A selection of tabloids are reporting on the exploits of someone who reckons they know where missing passenger jet MH370 has ended up. Here’s the thing: When a sole individual claims to have cracked a case that has left countless authorities and experts all over the world utterly stumped, they probably haven’t cracked the case.
The person, in this case, is a video producer from the UK. He thinks he’s seen the outline of the missing jet on Google Maps. He reckons that the plane landed in Cambodia within a mountainous area west of Phnom Penh, and he’s heading there himself to check on foot.
So, a few things here. Outlines of objects aren’t what they seem, particularly when viewed from satellite imagery. Conspiracy theorists often see outlines of plenty of complex things on Mars and under Earth’s oceans, but they are literally never what they appear to be. Far from being advanced structures built by aliens, they are instead just piles of rocks partly covered in shadows.
The outline in question, which you can see in the images here courtesy of Google Earth, might look like a plane, sure. It’s impossible, however, that such a plane could land on the treetops of the wilderness of Cambodia and just sit there completely intact. Make no mistake: It would have crashed and fragmented into thousands of pieces.
There's also, of course, the chance that the image is fake. It wouldn't be difficult to add in a pixelated plane to an already blurry satellite image in order to drum up attention. At the same time, people have claimed to have spotted MH370 from Google Maps/Earth before. Guess what? They were mistaken.
The outline could perhaps be of a real plane of some sort, but one that was snapped by satellite imaging equipment as it flew over Cambodia.
It appears that, since this claim, an aviation consultant and a local businessman have rented a helicopter to scour the area themselves. They found nothing.