I have been following the Malaysia 370 search with great interest. The most compelling evidence of the plane’s location was from sophisticated analysis of the pings emitted from satellite located over the Indian Ocean. By analysing the doppler effect of the pings that indicated whether the pings were coming from a source moving towards the satellite or away from it, a theory was propounded that positioned the plane on a course toward the mid Indian ocean, several hundred miles west of Perth, Australia. By analysing the fuel supply on the plane, a probable crash site was fixed.
A search of that area, that is ranther large, by the way, found floating debris is several places. Ships were dispatched to pick up this debris to see if it was from 370. That caused my to recall my several hundred hours as a forward lookout on the USS Greenwich Bay as it crossed the Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. The later being the area of the presumed crash. What I recalled was that I spotted debris fields on nearly every watch. I saw boxes, barrels, foam pieces, wooden pallets, and pieces of what sailors call flotsam, stuff that floats, everywhere. So I was not impressed by having such articles spotted by satellites. It also seems that ocean currents tend to congregate flotsam in debris fields that can be enormous. Trying to find and examine every piece of flotsam west of Perth is an overwhelmingly difficult task that may not ever reveal the end of 370.
I certainly hope that we find out what happened to this plane, and, if it crashed, 370 flotsam will certainly be present, but to chase down every bit floating in the ocean seems to be a frustrating search. A still pinging black box is our best chance, but we only have five more days before the batteries are drained of power.
Updated: This leaves open the possibilty that the plane did not crash and that the search for debris is a classic red herring. A recent article claims a passenger photographed the landing strip on Diego Garcia, a US Naval Base south of the equator in the Indian Ocean. Doppler analysis of the pings referred to above are consistent with this location. By the way, I visited Diego Garcia when on the Greenwich Bay when it was a copra plantation.