Gibson, second from left, with relatives of passengers on MH370 including Grace Subathirai Nathan, second from right, after a meeting in Canberra, Australia. Photograph: Mark Graham/AFP/Getty Images
Worse still, he says, are theories implicating the captain of MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah. New York magazine reported in July that a route plotted on his home flight simulator closely matched that taken by the plane. The story was authored by Jeff Wise, a high-profile but controversial commentator on the search for MH370 who has posited a number of theories, including that it was hijacked and flown to Kazakhstan on Vladimir Putins instruction. But, says Gibson, even if it wasnt a stretch to interpret a simulated route as evidence of planning, to say the two routes closely matched is just not true.
The evidence thus far points to a high-speed impact that shattered the plane, including the main cabin inconsistent with a controlled glide by a suicidal pilot.
There is nothing in the background of this pilot to indicate that he would want to end his life or everybody elses nothing, he says. The only evidence against him is the absence of any other explanation. Thats not enough.
Gibson says he has been trolled, attacked and slandered by an online army of armchair assassins, who have accused him of having reported planted debris, even planting it himself. A cyber-attack on The Hunt for MH370 website, after it published his report on the possible sighting in the Maldives, seemed professional, he says, although he does not know if his detractors are paid to discredit him, or just mean people.
He insists that he is driven only by the desire to find out what happened to the plane. The problem with Malaysia 370 is there are too many theories and not enough evidence. I can tell you what we do know. The plane crashed in the Indian Ocean, somewhere south of the equator and north of 39 degrees south [latitude] probably more likely north of 34 degrees south.
It did not crash in the Gulf of Thailand. It did not crash in the Bay of Bengal. It is not buried in the sand of Kazakhstan. It is not south of 40 degrees, because then debris would have gone to Australia and Tasmania and it wasnt abducted by aliens. He says it is possible that there was an emergency that crew members tried and failed to respond to. It is also possible that the plane was hijacked.
There is no neat narrative, which, he accepts, people find difficult. But speculation at least fuels the search.
As long as the interest remains in solving this mystery, I am content, because we need the search on until we do [solve it], says Gibson. What bothers me are the easy answers that cause us to say: Mystery solved, sweep it under the rug for ever, pin it on the pilot. I dont like the easy answers.
Gibson is hopeful the search will continue, in some form, beyond December. His investigation continues: Im hooked now. However, he believes governments, airlines and manufacturers even those not directly linked should play their part.
We have to solve this mystery. Its not just for the families, its for the flying public, who need to be sure what happened never happens again. We need to know that when we get on a plane, yeah, it may crash, things happen. But its not going to just disappear.