Malaysia announced Thursday it will conduct a coastal search around South Africa for potential debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The news came just hours after Australia said debris found in Mozambique “is almost certainly” from the missing Boeing 777-200.
Debris found in Mozambique by a South African tourist and an amateur American investigator separately is highly likely to have come from Flight MH370, Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said. The announcement was made after investigators completed their analysis of the two debris pieces.
"There is a need for us to search the South African coast to find more debris. Malaysia is sending a team there and we are currently awaiting approval from the South African authorities," Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Thursday, according to Reuters. "The coastal search will be by a Malaysian team and focused around South Africa and Mozambique."
Australian government also said that the location of the debris found on a sandbank in the Mozambique Channel, the ocean strait between Mozambique and Madagascar, “is consistent with drift modeling performed by CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization] and further affirms our search efforts in the southern Indian Ocean.”
The examination of the debris was conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean; Geoscience Australia; aircraft manufacturing company Boeing; and the Australian National University. Malaysia’s investigation team also assisted in the analysis.
Meanwhile, another debris was discovered Monday on a beach near Mossel Bay, a town in a Western Cape province. Australian authorities said Wednesday that the part was "suspected to be the cowling from an engine." The Malaysian government is working with South African officials to arrange for the examination of the new debris, ATSB said.
On Thursday, Malaysia said that the location of the ongoing underwater search for the missing plane need not be changed. 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 for Flight MH370 has been continuing in the southern Indian Ocean, with 9,652 sq. miles of the total 46,332 sq. miles left to be scoured. Authorities earlier said that the underwater search will be called off in June if no wreckage is found.
So far, authorities have only confirmed that a flaperon found last July on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean belongs to a Boeing 777-200 jet, the same type as the missing Flight MH370.
"We are focused on completing this task and remain hopeful the aircraft will be found," Chester said, in the statement.