A WOMAN claims to have solved a 40-year missing plane mystery by finding the wreckage on Google Maps.
The anonymous plane-spotter shared a legitimate satellite image from 2018 that appears to show an entire aircraft above a dense tree canopy in Barrington Tops National Park in Australia.
The location next to Mine Creek in New South Wales is around where Flight VH-MDX disappeared without a trace on August 9, 1981.
Nearly 38 years later, it remains the only unsolved airplane mystery since World War Two.
Four friends Ken Price, Noel Wildash, Rhett Bosler and Philip Pembroke were returning to Sydney from a holiday on the Whitsunday islands on the aircraft flown by ex-RAAF commercial pilot Mike Hutchins when it went missing.
Barrington Research Group (BRG), which is dedicated to finding the single-engine Cessna 210M, said they were aware of the image but it is not the missing plane.
An aircraft is unlikely to rest within the Barrington Wilderness Area in such a near perfect condition as shown in this image
Barrington Research Group
“This image is a classic example of an airborne aircraft being snapped by the satellite camera and there are many other examples across the Earth,” their website said.
“An aircraft is unlikely to rest within the Barrington Wilderness Area in such a near perfect condition as shown in this image.
“The shadow of the aircraft is also visible on the ground.”
BRG added that it was unlikely that the image from Google Earth will detect the VH-MDX as the wreck is “likely to be beneath tree canopy”, and the image resolution would not be high enough.
SEARCH GOES ON
So far the majority of the search has taken place in an 80km (50 miles) crash zone in near impenetrable forest, making the search an immense undertaking.
The next search for the wreckage will launch next month using drones.
Yvonne Pembroke, widow of one the missing men, told 7News she was “intrigued that people are still trying to resolve the mystery”.
The flight’s audio recording shows Hutchins ran into clouds and turbulence at 7.19pm.
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Hutchins later told the controller the plane was “up and down like a yo-yo” and was plummeting a thousand feet a minute, before the radio went dead.
An initial nine-day search, involving helicopters and hundreds of volunteers searching by foot, turned up nothing, as did a follow-up search four weeks later, this time with over 400 army reserve members, police officers and bush rescue volunteers scouring the forest.
The Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad has returned to Barrington Tops with a team to search every year or so since 1994 in a bid to find the missing wreck.
A version of this article also appeared on News.com.au on March 3, 2019.
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