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Monday, April 28, 2014

US pilot believes he's found wreckage of missing airliner after searching through thousands of satellite images online

Is this MH370? US pilot believes he's found wreckage of missing airliner after searching through thousands of satellite images online - right where the flight vanished seven weeks ago
Michael Hoebel, from Tonawanda, New York spent hours trawling through pictures on TomNod.com, a website that shares satellite images
He has found images of what he believes to be the intact aircraft just off the northeast coast of Malaysia days after the crash

He has contacted the FBI and NTSB to share his findings
The search for the missing flight, which vanished on March 8, will now focus on the ocean floor, authorities have said


PUBLISHED: 10:12 EST, 28 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:45 EST, 28 April 2014

A pilot from New York believes he has found the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airline Flight 370 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 believes is the doomed plane.

The recreational pilot from Tonawanda said he was shocked to discover that the aircraft, which vanished two months ago, 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.

Is it the wreckage? Michael Hoebel is pictured showing an image of what he believes is the wreckage of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. He found the image on a website that shares satellite images


'The perfect size': He said he used a scale given by the website and compared it to the specifications listed on Boeing's website - and discovered that the figure in the water was the right size

Discovery: He said that the lighter markings on the image matched up with the design of the plane

He told WIVB that he used the scale at the bottom of the map on TomNod and compared them to the specs on Boeing's website to establish that the white figure he saw was the perfect size.

'I was taken aback because I couldn't believe I would find this,' he told the news channel.


Where is the plane? A map shows where Hoebel believes the plane is, compared to its intended flight (red line) and suspected flight path (in blue)

He pointed to the image on his computer as he explained why he thought it was the missing airliner.

'The lighter skin where the wing attaches to the fuselage - you see that lighter skin,' he said, comparing the grainy image to a photograph of the make of plane.

And when WIVB reporter Ed Drantch questioned if the shadow could be a shark, Hoebel responded: 'That's a 210ft shark.'

TomNod allows members of the public to go through millions of satellite pictures in a bid to help investigate the crash.

It also allows other users to rate whether or not they agree with another user's theory - and so far, no one has disagreed with Hoebel's, he said.

No one else has noted finding the wreckage at the same spot, he added.

He said that he started searching for the plane because he wanted to aid the investigation to help the families who had lost loved ones.

He added that he has contacted the NTSB and the FBI with what he found - but so far they have not contacted him in response.

This weekend, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said surface search efforts for the plane have been scaled back because it is 'highly unlikely' clues will be found on the surface.

Certain: Hoebel said he looked through thousands of satellite images to find the potential wreckage

Hobby: The recreational pilot, 60, said that he felt deeply for the families who have lost their loved ones

Obama: Lessons must be learned from missing Malaysia flight

Instead, the search will enter a new phase with the focus on the ocean floor - despite there being no 'pings' from what was earlier hoped were the aircraft's black boxes.

Mr Abbott said that as the aircraft, which had 239 people on board, has been missing for 52 days, if there had been any debris from the aircraft it would have now sunk.

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Mr Najib Razak, has also conceded that investigators have made no substantial progress since March 8 - the date that the plane is believed to have crashed.

'That's all we have until today,' Mr Najib told the Wall Street Journal.


No signs: Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless concluded its work searching for the black box on Friday


Are they looking in the right place? A map shows the planned search areas just west of Australia


No answers: Relatives of some of the Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines flight comfort each other as they continued their sit-in protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2614932/U-S-pilot-believes-hes-wreckage-missing-Malaysia-flight-searching-satellite-images.html#ixzz30E6biIFo
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