‘Indiana Jones’ MH370 hunter in fear for life
When Blaine Gibson received a phone call warning him "you will never leave Madagascar alive", the American plane-wreck hunter took the threat seriously.
Mr Gibson had been on a successful private search for pieces of the doomed MH370 plane which disappeared six years ago and his sole reason for being in Madagascar, was to find more debris from the lost aircraft.
But someone obviously didn't want the self-styled Indiana Jones adventurer to continue investigating the baffling aviation mystery. It was not the only threat he received.
"You have to ask why, and who, and what might be behind it?" Mr Gibson said in an interview from an undisclosed location last month.
"I have had death threats against me and my friends - some from internet trolls, some in phone calls," he said.
"But the more predominant thing has been the defamation and character assassination through lies, innuendo and cherry picked half-truths," he said.
Now he lives in fear of his life, constantly changing his phone numbers not disclosing his whereabouts and looking over his shoulder.
"My main fear is that some lone nut job will read or hear the lies, defamation, and false accusations about me, and take physical action against me."
Mr Gibson has been instrumental in the discovery and collection of more than 30 pieces of debris from the ill-fated MH370 flight which disappeared in 2014, the first of which washed up on island shores off Africa in 2015.
Moved by the plight of the families of the 239 people on board and their search for answers, Mr Gibson wanted to do something to help.
He realised no searches had been undertaken for plane debris that might have washed ashore so he decided that would be his niche.
Since then, he has been instrumental in about 32 pieces of debris being discovered and sent to air-crash investigators and most of those pieces have been identified as coming from MH370.
The debris has unlocked some of the mystery surrounding the plane's disappearance including the way the flight ended - by revealing the plane was not in a controlled glide when it went down, rather it crashed violently into the sea and smashed into thousands of pieces.
The drift pattern of the debris has also pinpointed the plane crash site to be in the southern Indian Ocean, north of previous unsuccessful searches.
One piece of the aircraft, he discovered, had been used to fan a fire because it was light and smooth.
"Another piece, which turned out to be part of the landing gear door, was being used to wash clothes," said Mr Gibson.
He holds out hope a larger piece will be found, and that someone may have already found it and used it for building purposes.
Mr Gibson said he is still involved in helping in the search for debris, but admits the vicious campaign against him has had an effect.
He doesn't know whether it is a concerted campaign to stop him searching for the truth, or just random people trolling him.
"It can be a danger to me both ways. All it takes is one nut-job to go out and the kill the supposed Russian spy/CIA agent whatever," he said.
"That is the fear. And I have been warned to take precautions."
Mr Gibson is determined the search should continue and he has called for government efforts to raise awareness in island communities about the possibility debris may have already been found and repurposed and that more items will be washed ashore or onto reefs.
He said we may never know why the plane crashed, but finding the site will show how, what and where and who was at the controls … things that would be a big help to the families.
"I don't want to go down in history as the person who found bits of the plane," he said.
"I don't want it to end here. I want the pieces that have been found to lead us to the crash site and the truth.
"We need the truth and the proof."