Malaysian police have said that it will take a day or two to verify claims made by a man that he had found an aircraft wreckage believed to be that of missing MH370 in a remote island in the Philippines. The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March last year.
Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said on Sunday (11 October) that they have asked their counterparts in the Philippines to verify the claim that the aircraft was found at Sugbay Island in Tawi Tawi by a local who was hunting for birds in the area. A 46-year old audiovisual technician had lodged a report at the Sandakan police in Malaysia on behalf of his relative who had found the wreckage.
According to reports, he claimed that his visiting nephew from Sugbay Island had stumbled on the wreckage in early September while hunting for birds together with a few other people. They also found human bones near the wreckage. The men found skeletal remains in the pilot's chair with the seat belt fastened, the report said. A Malaysian flag was found in the plane, the report added.
"There was no photograph to support the claim so we are relying on our counterpart to check. Khalid told reporters on Sunday (11 October) that it would take one or two days before the claim could be verified.
Philippines police however are baffled by the claim as there have been no reports of any aircraft crashing in the area. "We will check it out but if there is any aircraft that has gone down in our area there would have been alerts from civil aviation authorities.
To date, there has been none," said Maguindanao-based Regional Chief Directional Staff Senior Supt Rodoleo Jocson. "There have been no reports to our provincial police in Tawi Tawi of any aircraft wreckage being found as well," he added.
Only last month, French authorities confirmed that a piece of flaperon found on the shores of the Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean belonged to the MH370. The aircraft debris was found on 29 July and had the paint colour and maintenance -record of the missing Boeing 777 aircraft.
Update: A previous version of the report incorrectly attributed Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police as Rodoleo Jocson.