KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The local Coast Guard has released these photos of parts of the wreckage found on Petit Tabac, the Tobago Cays on Tuesday.
A 12-member tour group found the wreckage, believed to be from some type of aircraft, at the Tobago Cays Marine Park in the Southern Grenadines Tuesday morning.
“We’ve got an Air France pilot on-board with us. The first thing he pointed out was ‘Look! A fuselage from one of the Airbuses.’ And I actually thought it was the same thing too but when we got onshore and we inspected the thing closer, it [appears to be] a Russian spacecraft …” a member of the group told Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in a call to a radio programme.
“… we cannot say whether it is a rocket or not … We tried to turn it over on the underside — about 12 of us — and we cannot get the thing to turn. It says here ‘space solutions’ and the writing here is Russian,” the caller told Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Air Transport.
A marine park ranger, who the tour group contacted after the discovery, identified himself as Ian and told Gonsalves that the object does have Russian writings.
“I have verified that but to say where exactly it came from or what wreckage it came off of I can’t say that because I am not an expert in that field,” he, however, said, in the same call to the radio programme.
The discovery came even as the European Space Agency said on Friday that it had abandoned efforts to contact a Russian space probe, increasing the likelihood that it will plunge to Earth, according to international media reports.
The unnamed Phobos-Ground probe was to head to Mars for a 2½-year mission to take soil samples then fly back to earth. But it became stuck in Earth orbit after its Nov. 9 launch and attempts to send commands that would propel it towards the Mars moon have been unsuccessful.
Russian deputy space chief Vitaly Davydc said last month that if the spacecraft is not sent to Mars, it could fall to Earth something between late December and late February.
National security officials here are investigating the discovery but had not made any official statements as of Tuesday night.