Australian and Malaysian authorities said Friday the debris found on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius belonged to the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which went missing in March 2014. A piece of the wing flap from the Boeing 777 aircraft was found in May this year.
Experts at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau used a part number found on the wing flap to link it to the missing plane. The ATSB is leading the search for the plane off Australia’s west coast. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai also confirmed that the debris belonged to flight MH370.
“From a part number found on a section of the debris, the piece has been identified as a trailing edge splice strap, incorporated into the rear spar assembly of a Boeing 777 left outboard flap,” Liow reportedly said.
“Adjacent to the part number was a second part identifier. The flap manufacturer supplied records indicating that this work order number was incorporated into the outboard flap shipset line number 404. This corresponds to the Boeing 777 aircraft line number 404, registered as 9M-MRO (MH370),” he added.
The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carrying 239 people when it went missing on March 8, 2014. Since then, several pieces of debris belonging to the plane have been found but investigators don’t have enough information to pinpoint the exact location of the bulk of the wreckage. Finding the exact location would help investigators retrieve the aircraft’s data recorders which could provide information on why the plane veered off its course. That information would also give some form of closure to the families and friends of those who died in the incident.
The search for the wreckage will end in December after crews finish sweeping a 46,000-square mile zone in the Indian Ocean. Authorities from Malaysia, China and Australia announced in July they will suspend the $160 million search if no new evidence is unearthed in the sweep.