Phillip Wood, Flight MH370, Diego Garcia and the black photo.

A claim is flying across the Internet that asserts MH370 passenger Phillip Wood took a photo from his iPhone 5 from a military base called Diego Garcia, where he and the other passengers are being incarcerated.


The photo, (above) which is entirely black, was apparently uploaded to the Internet along with the following message –

“I have been held hostage by unknown military personal after my flight was hijacked (blindfolded). I work for IBM and I have managed to hide my cellphone in my ass during the hijack. I have been separated from the rest of the passengers and I am in a cell. My name is Philip Wood. I think I have been drugged as well and cannot think clearly.”

The phones EXIF information (this is behind-the-scenes information about a photo) indicates it was taken in Diego Garcia with an iPhone 5. According to conspiracy theorists, the claim represents a vital piece of evidence that supports a theory that asserts flight MH370 was intentionally stolen by the US, and safely landed at the US military base, where all the passengers are (or were) being held.

The conspiracy theorist that published the photo claims that the EXIF information on a photo cannot be altered (or that it is very difficult to do so), and thus the photo must have been taken in Diego Garcia.

After looking at the EXIF information ourselves, the photo does show GPS coordinates that match up to the island Diego Garcia, and a man named Phillip Wood was on the flight MH370. It appears the photo first surfaced on website 4chan.

Upon investigating the photo we requested or sought out information from various experts in the digital photography world to find out what they thought about the photo in question.

Firstly, the notion put forth by the theory that claims the EXIF information on a photo cannot be altered has been disputed by numerous digital experts. Forum members from various digital photography websites have maintained that altering EXIF information, even doing so without an obvious digital fingerprint, is indeed possible, providing you have the correct software and a working knowledge of digital photography.

This immediately discredits the conspiracy theory, that hinged on the false assertion that a photo’s EXIF information could not be changed and thus the photo must have been taken in Diego Garcia. The fact that the EXIF information can be changed means the photo could have been taken anywhere in the world.

We contacted a website called who deal with digital forensics, and they reiterated that altering the EXIF information can be done, and even ran an instance of the photo through a project belonging to them called, a website designed to tell if photos have been modified. The results suggested that the photo was not the original, and that it has been run through a type of photo editing software. This is not to say that the photo itself had been digitally manipulated, but highlights a strong possibility that the photo had indeed been modified in some significant way.

We ran multiple instances of the photo, obtained from various websites, through the same site and received similar results.


One of the tests performed by suggested that the EXIF information present was not consistent with that of an iPhone 5 output – this information seems to be supported by an evaluation from a site known as, who analysed the photo and maintained that important EXIF information that would normally be present in an iPhone 5 photo was not there, and many values were inconsistent to what one would expect to find in a photo from an iPhone 5. Ultimately suggesting [again] that the photo had been modified. Read their report here.


The EXIF information

Furthermore, after more investigation into the photo, we found the term “Picasa” located inside the images EXIF output. Picasa is a Google owned image organiser and editor that, amongst other things, has the ability to alter EXIF information, including GPS coordinates. It’s entry into the EXIF information of the photo is not consistent with an original iPhone 5 photo (we compared a genuine iPhone 5 photo with this one) and thus, proves, as much as one can prove in the world of digital forensics, that the photo is a hoax.

Of course none of this is concrete evidence of anything. In digital forensics, it is notoriously and inherently difficult to prove anything, given the very nature of its digital, cyber world. But in this case, therein lies the point – the photo isn’t proof of anything. Digital analysis suggests the photo is certainly not reliable and shows clear signs of modification, and the revelation that the photo first surfaced on 4chan, a website notorious for online trickery, means that the photo should be taken with much more than just a pinch of salt.

Whilst many conspiracy theorist will invariably come out with plenty of “100% confirmed evidence” that they claim will prove the theory that MH370 was hijacked or captured, this photo – that the entire Diego Garcia theory seems largely reliant on – certainly does not qualify as any kind of evidence, and frankly shouldn’t be trusted at all.

“I think this is the first time I’ve seen a photo of nothing presented as proof of anything.”

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  • unfairrobot

    There’s one sentence here that explains everything, I think: “It appears the photo first surfaced on website 4chan.”

  • Ian

    regardless of whether the image has been tampered with, I find it hard to give this story any credibility after hearing that the guy had supposedly hidden his iPhone 5 up his ass!

    • Sam Carpenter

      Depends if he had a shit-tonne of poppers on him as well…

  • Jenn831

    With all the other possibilities they HAVE checked into, why would they not at least go to Diego Garcia and look around. They can spend billions of dollars on fancy ships and remote submarines and change the search area a bunch of times but they can’t just go check it out???????? Diego Garcia is in the area of where speculation would have put the plane at final decent anyway!

    • Nicole Guihaumé

      Maybe we should make your idea known by a petition or something like that. The fact is 239 persons are concerned, but not only. There must be a limit to what we accept. To tell persons a plane can disappear that way, though it was seen flying low in the Maldives is not acceptable :

    • Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah

      The time vortex that our flight was sucked into has left our aircraft – and possibly all passengers – radiating large amounts of omega radiation and very high risk for anyone coming within 100 miles of the island. The radiation is also disrupting all cell phone communications. Once the military has determined the half life of the isotopes causing the radiation, contact with the world will be permitted once again. Until then, we’re all enjoying life right here in our own tropical island paradise.

    • Brad D’urso

      We don’t really have to go there. Diego Garcia is a jointly operated military base, operated by US Naval forces and British Military forces. It is a forward staging area for submarines, often has a submarine tender in port there, and has shore facilities that are continuously manned. The majority of the living quarters for the 3,000 to 5,000 inhabitants is within 1.5 miles of the airport. These individuals would have noticed the plane without any doubt. There are far too many people there to operate a successful conspiracy of this magnitude.

  • Wooo

    There is nowhere to hide a 777 on Diego Garcia. I know I have been there 3 times.

  • yuni

    Yes i believe that from diego garcia….

  • calisto

    is this true???

  • Nicole Guihaumé

    The problem with this history is that very many people have huge interest to disqualify it. Few persons note that the pic is from the 18th, was posted on archive4 the 19th, and then nothing until a twit on the 24th :

    Jim Stone told he wrote on it first but was hacked. I don’t trust him because I looked at his website, and did not see anything between the 19 and the 24th and because beforeitsnews publishs his notes as soon as they are on line. They don’t complain being hacked, and I find nothing before the 24th.

    Moreover, I would like to have links of fora where it is seriouly discussed. Glenn Beck made it in a very ridiculous way :

    and strange enough spoke very long on jewsnews BUT avoid to tell and give this link :

    Concerning the fora, you have metabunk and it happens to be all what you want except serious :

    I wonder, if it is so easy to disqualify this pic and text, these persons need to use disloyalty. Glenn Beck had very many negative comments on his FB page.

    We must not forget Rotschild is concerned :

  • KendraKlassen

    Did Phil Wood own a iPhone5?

  • Ira Dunn

    Why did the plane go north, then east, then south, before it went west. Why only now do US black box detecting ships join search, because the claim will be made that black box battery is dead. Story over.

    Making money always clouds people’s willingness to believe. Keep making money.

  • David D. Haines

    Your question makes the most sense of anything on this page, pro- or con- the Diego Garcia hypothesis. This would not be difficult to
    verify and if Wood did own an iPhone5, some specs should be available from the vendor that could probably be cross-referenced with data that came with the photo. Someone should be asking about now, why such a rudimentary investigative activity has not been done. The fact that it has not
    lends credibility to validation of the hypothesis.

    • Nicole Guihaumé

      This is absolutely true. BTW, if I had to choice, I would ask his brother or his sons, because curious things are on line concerning Sarah Bajc, I wrote it below in another comment.

      • David D. Haines

        Thanks Nicole. Indeed, superficially, this story looked like another tinfoil hatter fantasy. But… the more time passes without the simple debunking measure of iphone ownership being applied, the more credible this story becomes. BUT.. the way in which the ownership question must be approached must itself be subjected to intense scrutiny. It is not out of the realm of possibility that if indeed Wood owned an iphone,the vendor could be co-opted into denying the ownership – or tinkering with electronic records to “prove” the phone had not been activated after Woods and the other passengers disappeared. True, the message was posted onto a website known to be frequented by hoaxers – but so what? Stone had to post it somewhere – and it`s doubtful Fox or CNN would have carried it. This plot may be thickening. In any case, a means to mostly debunk it is sitting in the open and the fact that it has not been used is getting to be very(!) Interesting. Final point in response to the comment above: I too have been on Diego years back, and damn straight there is plenty of subsurface infrastructure where a 777 might be tucked away – particularly if it and its passengers were hastily converted to scrap and either meat fragments or ash in one of the hangars. Food for thought.


          There is no one officially investigating this theory. Mostly because its absurd and has no evidence. Thus no one has verified what phone he has.


            You’ll see an examination of the facts by re-reading the article you are commenting on. Investigating baseless conspiracy theories is not routine for any police department, anywhere in the world. Ever. Of course the police may have performed background checks on the victims and may very well know what phone Philip Wood has, but there is really no requirement for them to release that information to placate crackpots. Even if that information was released it would only then by duly dismissed as a lie, because, you know, conspiracy theorists are never wrong…


            Sorry David, name-calling only gets you banned. And anonymous images that show obvious signs of fakery don’t count as probably cause.

          • Soldarius

            But majority of most media sources can be or are filled with half truths and half lies and not all conspiracy theories are wrong but not saying all of them are right either.

            Most people choose to believe what they want to believe or forced to believe by being fed stories that sound ludicrous to others. Maybe those that lack critical thinking skills and would rather others do the thinking for them.

  • djsmps

    This was a great way to deflect attention from the Ukraine crisis and the botched handling of it by Obama. It worked.

  • Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah

    Just wanted to let the world know, we’re all ok and everything will be explained to the world media very soon. All the passengers are now all sitting down – without cell phones in our asses ! – and having afternoon tea with the magical pixies at the gardens here at the Diego Garcia military base.

  • T. A. Mikita

    I would think that Apple could clear this up in a moment if there was any relevance to this. Rather than searching an entire air force base, let’s just ask if Phillip Wood even owned an iphone, and if it actually possible to put it where he said he did not hide it….

    • Ka

      Or just see his recent activity

    • Little Johnny

      You are aware that all large corporations report to the Govt….

  • T. A. Mikita

    I feel for Phillip Wood’s family at this heart rending time, to be subjected to this type of hoax,

    • Little Johnny

      How do you know it’s hoax. Ostriches stick there heads in the sand so they can’t see danger. Does that mean there is no danger?

  • Gape.Hole

    im sure the 777 is in his huge ass.

  • King131

    You guys are asking the wrong questions. Why were 30 military contract engineers onboard in first place. And who has the technology to stealth an aircraft like that in that fashion.

    • Little Johnny

      Exactly. The sheeple will never get it. It’s too late.

  • Ka

    I think this is all sort of far fetched considering how easily his grilfriend could just call the phone company and figure out the last activity of the phone….

    • ohh.word


    • Little Johnny

      Really. Try it.

  • Little Johnny

    I don’t believe anything about MH370. The whole story smells of Government cover up. I think something was on that plane that a very powerful government didn’t want falling into Chinese hands. I think the 2 false passport holders were there to subdue the pilots whilst remote control kicked in. The 3 Chinese software engineers were escorting the item hence the intense Chinese involvement in the search. The plane was seen near the Maldives, north of Diego Garcia. Diego Garcia is a military base and has a naval airport. There are very few locals and most of them still rub sticks together to make a fire. That got they wanted off the plane and then flew it off into the Indian Ocean which might explain how they now miraculously seem to have located the pinging from the black box against odds of about 1 Trillion to one! Nothing else makes sense about this plane other than some sort of hijacking. Call me a conspiracy theorist but I don’t digest B&llshit well. We will never know the truth as the truth is now strictly controlled and issued in very small doses. I know one thing. What’s been reported in the main stream media is NOT the truth.


      Invisible cloak for fighting war.

      Read something that suggested possibility of group
      Of scientist on board had patten on technology ?

  • Love MachineArmada

    Would you please have a look at the following article

    this information may be new to you how ever as you read the article in full you will see the possible connections and possible evidence that leads to the possible truth behind the missing Malasyan flight MH-370, if you find this article rings truth I urge you to look deeper and share with others

  • davidof

    They take the plane (370)at first to Kandahar. Then They take Philip To kenya. He is now in Honolulu Kalihi Palama near marina .He is in an us navy boat name blue ridge or some think like that .They will change his place after this writing.

  • David Wheeler

    There is much more reason to suspect something fishy than not to.
    There appears to have been extremely important technology on board Flight MH370 – either in the form of equipment or personnel, or both. This would give a motive for hijack. Then there are the sightings in the Maldives, which authorities have tried to squash in spite of reports to the police. Then there is the supposed phone call/photo from Philip Wood, who was indeed on board. It should be pretty simple to check, if the photo came from his phone. It seems that the GPS report came from the island of Diego Garcia, and was slightly different from the ones found via Google, etc. The dimensions of an iPhone 5 are width 58.6mm and thickness 7.6mm. Sorry to be technical but this would go through a hole 21.07mm diameter, (or 0.83″ diameter) – by no means impossible. Philip Wood is obviously highly intelligent, and would be very much aware of the danger he was in. Taking a blank photo is a very clever plan, as he would know about the other information contained with the photo. This all makes a lot of sense to me.
    If there was nothing fishy going on, why on earth would a plane flying from Malaysia to China suddenly go off into the Southern ocean and crash?
    The name of this website would indicate a motive to trash any inconvenient theories.

  • David Wheeler

    P.S. Sorry my calculation was wrong. Should be 1.66″ diameter – still possible in desperate straits.

  • BeaveVillage

    Dang shame 4chan continues to exploit real world victims of MH370, that said there is more to this entire story than what meets the eye and is still likely a conspiracy of epic proportions.

  • gumdrop

    Has anyone been able to prove whether he had an iPhone 5 or not? This evidence seems more reliable than the GPS information due to the fact a troll is going to have a hard time finding out what sort of phone he had…