Diego Garcia Island: The Location of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 02:59 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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Diego Garcia Island, an atoll in the Indian Ocean roughly half way between Australia and Africa, is at the center of a new conspiracy theory surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has been missing since March 8.

According to Emirates 24/7, a photo and message allegedly written by the only American passenger on the flight, Philip Wood, was posted to the popular website 4Chan on March 18 pleading for help.

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The full message read, "I have been held hostage by unknown military personal after my flight was hijacked (blindfolded). I work for IBM and I have managed to hide my cellphone in my [expletive] during the hijack. I have been separated from the rest of the passengers and I am in a cell. My name is Philip Wood. I think I have been drugged as well and cannot think clearly."

The message also included GPS coordinates that point to Diego Garcia Island, a United States military base home to 1,700 military personnel and 1,500 civilian contractors.

The theory appears to have been popularized by freelance journalist Jim Stone, who posted the photo and message to his blog, which he later admitted he found on 4Chan. 4Chan has been the birthplace of many hoaxes, which casts doubt on the authenticity of the message.

As the international search for Flight 370 continues Monday, authorities in multiple countries have recently picked up a "ping" signal from what they say could be the airplane's black box. Time is running out to find the exact location of the ping, however, as the batteries on a plane's black box usually last 35 days at most.

High-tech underwater drones as well as human-steered submarines are currently exploring the area where they believe the pings are coming from. It's estimated the pings are 2.8 miles underwater in one of the deepest parts of the Indian Ocean.

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