Is the missing Malaysian Airlines plane MH370, a Boeing 777, being held at a remote island called Diego Garcia?
The claim appears to have originated on the internet forum 4chan, unfortunately the original post has been removed by 4chan admins, however a mirror website called 4plebs, has a copy of the original post.
The original poster claims to be someone called Philip Wood, an IBM employee claiming to be a victim of the MH370 disappearance, that has been able to hide his phone for 10 days, take a photo and post it onto 4chan, while blindfolded.
The users on 4chan are all referred to as Anonymous, however, the image provides a bit more information. Images taken on devices such as an iPhone can bind GPS location information into an image file automatically, this information is Exif, other information such as the date and time that the image was taken can also be stored within the image file. A first look at the information provided by the image suggests the image was taken on the remote island of Diego Garcia. (see below)
The data suggests the image was taken with an iPhone 5, at the given coordinates. 7° 18′ 58.3″ South, 72° 25′ 35.6″ East ( -7.316197, 72.426544 ). Click here to see this location on a map.
By zooming into the building using the map we can see that it is titled PACAF (Pacific Airforce) AGE (Aircraft Ground Equipment) Support Facility.
An admission from a senior American official revealed a secret prison located at Diego Garcia, but didn’t state which building was used.
Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of MH370, has a home-built flight simulator. Files containing records of simulations carried out on the flight simulator were deleted on February 3rd, which he may have used to practice landing at Diego Garcia.
Members at the forum Metabunk.org took a closer look at the Exif data, they not only found that the Exif data was easy to edit, but that the image had in fact been made or edited with Picasa, not an iPhone. It would appear that the image is just a hoax.
US officials have ruled out the possibility. “I’ll rule that one out,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday when asked about such news reports appearing mainly in the Chinese press.
But could the plane still be there?
The Boeing 777 has a wingspan of 60.9m, and a length of 73.9m. The map of Diego Garcia shows some B-52H Stratofortress planes, which have a wingspan of 56m and a length of 49m. There are no buildings on the map large enough to house a 777. So if the plane is on the island, it should be viewable by satellite.