MH370: Possible Debris Found in Mozambique Being Examined


A Philippines mural depicting the missing flight. MH370 disappeared in March 2014, with 239 people on board. Photograph: Bullit Marquez/AP

Agencies and Mark Tran, The Guardian, March 03, 2016

Malaysian officials say debris washed up in Mozambique may be from a Boeing 777, the same type of aircraft as the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared two years ago.

“Based on early reports, high possibility debris found in Mozambique belongs to a B777,” tweeted Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia’s transport minister. But he went on to warn against “undue speculation as we are not able to conclude that the debris belongs to #mh370 at this time”.

Photographs of the debris appear to show the fixed leading edge of the right-hand horizontal stabiliser, or tailfin, of a Boeing 777, a US official told the Associated Press. People who have handled the part, which is being transported to Malaysia, say it appears to be made of fibreglass composite on the outside, with aluminium honeycombing on the inside, the official said.

Based on early reports, high possibility debris found in Mozambique belongs to a B777. (1/3)

— Liow Tiong Lai (@liowtionglai) March 2, 2016

However, Mozambique’s national director of civil aviation, João Abreu, said authorities had found no part of the missing plane.

MH370 went missing on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 12 crew members and 227 passengers on board.

American blogger Blaine Gibson, who has been conducting his own search for the missing plane, said he located the debris and showed it to officials.

Photos of Blaine Gibson who claims to have found possible #mh370 debris off Mozambique. More on @NBCNightlyNews

— Tom Costello (@tomcostellonbc) March 2, 2016

Despite extensive searches of the southern Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, the only trace of the plane has been a wing part known as a flaperon that washed ashore last July on the French island of Réunion. The island, off the east coast of Africa, is about 2,300 miles (3,700km) from the current search area in the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

Radar tracking of MH370 showed that the plane turned around as it approached Vietnamese airspace, flew back towards Malaysia and then on over the Indian Ocean, where radar contact was lost. Authorities who analysed data exchanged between the plane’s engine and a satellite determined that MH370 took a straight path across the ocean, leading them to believe that it flew on autopilot for hours before running out of fuel and crashing into the water.

Related: MH370 search: 'rogue pilot' theory still on Australian investigators' radar

The US television network NBC said the debris was found on a sandbank in the Mozambique Channel, between the African mainland and Madagascar. Engineers who had looked at the debris believed there was a good chance it belonged to MH370, NBC said, citing sources close to the search. Boeing engineers were examining the photos, it added.

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This article was written by Agencies and Mark Tran from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.