KUALA LUMPUR — March 2, 2016: Suspected aircraft debris has been found on the coast of Mozambique, and Malaysia’s transport minister said today there was a high possibility it came from a Boeing 777, the same model as missing flight MH370.
“Based an early reports, high possibility debris found in Mozambique belongs to a B777,” Liow Tiong Lai said on his Twitter feed.
US television network NBC earlier reported a piece of debris had been found along the eastern African coast between Mozambique and Madagascar.
If confirmed, it would be the second piece of debris found from MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014 while on a routine overnight flight from here to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
Last July a man on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion found a wing fragment that experts later determined came from the Malaysia Airlines flight, the only confirmed evidence of the plane’s fate so far.
Citing US, Malaysian and Australian investigators who had seen photos of the object, NBC said the Mozambique debris could be a horizontal stabiliser — a wing-like part attached to the tail.
Liow said Malaysia was working with Australia, which is coordinating an Indian Ocean search for the ill-fated jumbo jet, to retrieve the debris for closer study.
Liow stressed the origin of the item was yet to be confirmed and verified.
“I urge everyone to avoid undue speculation as we are not able to conclude that the debris belongs to MH370 at this time,” the transport minister said.
The find comes just days before the two-year anniversary of MH370‘s disappearance.
Investigators believe the plane rerouted to the southern Indian Ocean, where it crashed, but no site has been found and the cause of the disaster remains unknown.
Malaysia to analyse debris
The debris was found on a sandbank in the Mozambique Channel by an American who has been blogging about the search for MH370, NBC said.
Mozambican authorities confirmed that a possible plane part had been handed in by an American tourist, who reportedly founded it near the coastal town of Vilankulo in Inhambane province.
“We can’t confirm categorically that this small piece belongs to the (MH370) plane,” Paulo Teimezira, inspector of aeronautical materials at the civil aviation department in Maputo, told AFP.
Neither NBC nor Teimezira said when the debris was found.
Teimezira also denied reports the object was on its way to Malaysia for further examination, saying it was still in Mozambique. More information would be released tomorrow.
The disappearance of flight MH370 in 2014 gripped the world and remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
Theories of what happened include a hijacking, rogue pilot action, or sudden mechanical problem that incapacitated the crew, but there is nothing to support any one theory.