An Australian man now claims he might have spotted the missing Malaysia Airlnes MH370 flight sinking in the Indian Ocean, south of Bali, from a plane he was travelling on March 12, four days after the mysterious disappearance of the aircraft.
In an exclusive e-mail conversation with International Business Times (India), Antonio Bongiovanni, who is the owner of 'A Bongiovanni & Son Pty Ltd', a food store located in 176-178 Victoria St, Seddon, Melbourne, said that while travelling from Melbourne to Bali, he noticed what appeared like a "white shadow of a plane".
"During my travel from Melbourne to Bali on the 12th of March just flying low towards Denpasar (approx ½ hour out), I noticed a large white object under the water which appeared to me as a white shadow of a plane," Bongiovanni stressed.
"I could see a plane like shape including a wing etc," he added. "I had no time to inform anyone as we were traveling quite fast, but I quickly snapped a pic of the location on my iPhone".
See the picture below.
Asked why he did not reveal this earlier, he said: "The reason why I have not mentioned it earlier is simply because every time I intended to email, there seemed to be another breakthrough to the whereabouts (of the plane). Eg. From the Maldives to the Indian Ocean.
"I have discussed this with some very close friends and family," the 34-year-old, father of two, said.
However, it is difficult to independently verify if he actually saw an aircraft in the ocean, or whether it was another aircraft flying just above the surface of water. And even if he had seen a plane, it cannot be confirmed whether it was the missing MH370.
(Disclaimer: International Business Times (India) does not claim to have a definitive answer to the mystery surrounding the bizarre disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370).
Nevertheless, based on the information provided by Bongiovanni, the possibility of the object spotted being an aircraft cannot be entirely ruled out. His information, corroborated by the snapshot of the exact location where he saw the "white shadow" under water, confirms the fact that he was indeed travelling by Virgin Australia flight 4153 (VA 4153) at the time.
When Bongiovanni saw the possible plane shadow in the water, the VA 4153 was flying at a ground speed of 470 km/h at an altitude of 1572 meters - which is low enough for people onboard to spot large objects in the ocean below. It appears that the aircraft was about to reach its destination and was hence travelling low, before the landing.
Further research found out that flight VA 4153 is not a fake number, and that the aircraft from Melbourne to Denpasar-Bali did fly on March 12. According to Flightmapper.net, the Melbourne-Denpasar flight departed at 9:20 am (Melbourne time) and landed at 12:25 (Denpasar-Bali Time) daily till 29 March. Flightaware.com, a website that provides information about flight schedules, also notes that Virgin Australia 4153 is a genuine flight, and the airline's journey between Melbourne and Bali did take place several times, including 12 March.
"I was not under the influence of any alcohol or drugs during the flight and I am quite confident as to what I have seen," he stated, adding: "Who knows, it may be nothing, but I suppose it's worth a try. My view is that the plane has to be somewhere, so it may in fact be there."
In his reply, Bongiovanni had identified himself as the business owner and property investor. Reiterating on what he saw, he said: "I was going over to Bali just after the disappearance of MH370 with my wife for a short holiday without the children. (12/03/14)".
"My wife was asleep at the time, and I am quite certain it was a plane. It was big and white below the water... I could only see one wing and it looked like it was facing south west, so away from Kuala Lumpur ."
If it indeed faced south-west, it confirms that the possible submerged aircraft was probably flying away from Kuala Lumpur, further hinting at the possibility that it could be flight MH370.
The massive international search currently underway for the missing jet MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean near Australia was primarily based on the satellite pings the UK satellite company Inmarsat claimed to have received from the aircraft. Based on the data, two arcs were drawn so the plane could have been at any point on the arcs and researchers were sure that the plane most probably went towards the south, not north.
Going by this, the exact point where Bongiovanni says he saw the possible submerged aircraft also falls very close to one of the points in the arc. The point where Bongiovanni saw the shadow is very close to the starting point of the arc that extends towards the south, the location where the plane possibly went missing.
It is also important to note that the Malaysian authorities had conceded that MH370 flight appeared to have been travelling faster than previously thought and, therefore, would have consumed more fuel. That is in fact, the reason why the aircraft search area was shifted far away in the north of the arc.
Based on what has been revealed so far, it is also possible that the MH370 had, in fact, not even reached up to the point where it is currently being searched by the Australian authorities - north-west of Perth. It is, therefore, quite possible that the location Bongiovanni points out is, indeed, the actual location where the missing Malaysia flight possibly crashed.
About the credibility of Bongiovanni, International Business Times (India) has been able to gather the location of the grocery shop, and also his photograph from the official Facebook page.