A piece of debris found in the southeast African nation of Mozambique arrived in Malaysia Thursday for analysis into its links to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, officials reportedly said. The news comes as search teams continue to locate the wreckage of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which went missing two years ago.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai reportedly said that experts in Malaysia will examine the 3.3-foot piece of metal, which was found two weeks ago on a sandbank in the Mozambique Channel — the ocean strait between Mozambique and Madagascar. After Malaysia completes its analysis, the debris will be sent to Australia for further verification about its origin, Liow said, according to local reports.
“Malaysia retains responsibility for the overall investigation into the disappearance of MH370 and the coordination of other nations’ input,” Daniel J.T. O'Malley, the communications officer for Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is leading the search for Flight MH370, had told International Business Times.
Flight MH370 went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A multimillion-dollar search operation has been ongoing in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, with no concrete clues as to what happened to the plane. Search vessels have so far scoured 34,749 sq. miles of the total 46,332 sq. miles of designated search area, while authorities have said the search is due to be called off in June if no wreckage is found.
So far, the first and only piece of physical evidence to be recovered from the missing plane is a flaperon that washed ashore on France's Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean — about 2,300 miles away from the current search area — in July 2015.
“Negotiations are occurring with relevant authorities to arrange for examination of the debris,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, said in its search update Wednesday.
French officials had confirmed that the flaperon found on Réunion Island came from a Boeing 777-200, the same type of plane as the missing Flight MH370, but they are yet to release their final investigation report on the wing flap’s origin.
Meanwhile, as authorities continue their work to examine the Mozambique debris, a new report claimed more wreckage may have been found on the coast of the southeast African nation.
East Coast Radio Newswatch, a radiostation in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, reported that a family had found another piece of debris on a sandbank off Mozambique and has contacted South African and Australian authorities.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority's Accident and Incident Investigations Division confirmed to East Coast Radio Newswatch that they are sending an official to pick up the debris, before passing it on to international investigators looking into the disappearance of the plane.