International experts say more plane debris discovered in South Africa and on Mauritius “almost certainly” came from the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. The debris, the Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team said, is “consistent with panels found on a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft,” the TorontoStar reported.
“This complements the results from the previous examination in March during which the team confirmed that the Mozambique debris were almost certainly from MH370,” Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, the Malaysian transportation minister, said Thursday.
Many pieces of debris that investigators believe could be from the missing plane have turned up on the coasts of African nations and islands recently, and several have been determined as likely pieces of MH370, which was carrying 239 people when it disappeared in March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The debris confirmed Thursday is from the airliner’s engine.
The first piece of debris thought to be linked to the suspected crash, a right wing flaperon, was discovered in July 2015 on a beach on Réunion, an island in the Indian Ocean. Within the month, a damaged suitcase and items from China and Indonesia were also found there. The flaperon was later confirmed as likely coming from the plane.
There weren’t any more discoveries until December, when a gray piece of debris was found in southern Mozambique — however that discovery wasn’t disclosed to authorities until March after an object with the words “no step” found off the coast of Mozambique in February was reported in the news media. More debris — a gray object with a blue border — was found March 7 on Reunion.
The engine part was found March 21 in South Africa. Investigators concluded in April a segment of a flap track fairing and a part of a horizontal stabilizer panel found off the coast of Mazambique were “almost certainly” from the plane.
There is some doubt the parts that have washed ashore are from the plane, since not all pieces contain serial numbers that easily can be linked back to the missing jet.
MH370’s disappearance sparked a massive search in the Indian Ocean over the past two years to try to determine how a plane could simply disappear. The airliner is thought to have crashed March 8, 2014, killing all of the passengers and crew members on board.
The disappearance has sparked widespread speculation about the whereabouts of the plane, including several conspiracy theories. Among the more far-fetched ideas: Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have ordered a hijacking of the plane according to some, North Korea has been blamed for stealing the large aircraft by others, and the United States has been accused of shooting down MH370.