- Australian company is urging official Flight 370 searchers to revisit Bay of Bengal
- GeoResonance says it has detected an object that could be a commercial airliner
- GeoResonance: The site is about 120 miles south of Bangladesh
- Company says it went public because official searchers didn't respond to them
The Australian company GeoResonance claims it has found the wreckage of a plane in the Bay of Bengal. The company is not saying that what they found is missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but it is urging official searchers to take a look. So far, Malaysian officials say they are investigating the credibility of the claim, while Australian searchers and a satellite company say they are confident that the plane is in a different area.
What is GeoResonance?
GeoResonance specializes in geophysical surveys. The company's technology has been used to find oil and gas, groundwater, uranium, even diamonds.
The technology the company uses was originally created to search for nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry under the ocean or beneath the earth in bunkers, said David Pope, the company's director.
"Subsurface exploration has never been so precise -- we detect the nuclei of targeted substances," the company says on its website.
In addition to finding natural resources, the company has also used its resources to located submerged structures, including ships and aircraft.
What technology is the company using?
According to an Australian newspaper account, GeoResonance makes use of former Soviet defense technology that has since been demilitarized.
It analyzes super-weak electromagnetic fields captured by airborne multispectral images.
"And what we do is we look at the nuclei of an atom, copper or nickel or iron. And so we knew we had the tools to search for the plane," Pope said.
For their search of MH370, the company began by looking for aluminum, which makes up about 70% of the Boeing 777, Pope said.
Once it got a hit for aluminum, it looked for other metals such as titanium, copper, steel, nickel, iron and chromium, he said.
The result is a set of images that show what could be the parts of an intact plane.
Where is this site?
Pope declined to give the precise coordinates for GeoResonance's find, but said it was about 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal. The search officials do have the exact location, he said.
The current official search area is in the southern Indian Ocean, and is being coordinated by the Australians. The site where GeoResonance says it found the wreckage is several thousand miles away in an area that was ruled out weeks ago.
Pope said his company began searching that area at a time when search efforts were in the Bay of Bengal. The search moved on, but his team sent their findings to officials repeatedly, he said.
Did officials ignore the company's findings?
According to GeoResonance, yes, its e-mails and phone calls to the official searchers went unanswered. That is one of the factors that pushed the company to release its findings publicly.
Pope says he did not want to share the findings publicly at first, but it was possibly the only way to get heard.
"We're a large group of scientists, and we were being ignored, and we thought we had a moral obligation to get our findings to the authorities," he said.
The strategy appears to have worked, according to Pope.
On the same day he released the findings, Malaysian officials reached out and listened to a 1½-hour technical presentation by his team. Malaysian acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia "is working with its international partners to assess the credibility of this information."
Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which is leading the multinational search, dismissed the claim. The officials are "satisfied" with data that show the plane likely is in the southern Indian Ocean, and not in the Bay of Bengal.