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'Almost Certainly': Debris Found in March from Missing Malaysia Airlines MH370?

May 13, 2016 02:45 AM EDT
Malaysia Airlines MH370
This is the machine that went missing on March 8, 2014 while operating MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Triple 7 disappeared from radar screens at 2:00 a.m. with 239 people on board.
(Photo : Flickr/Creative Commons/Aero Icarus)

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said the two pieces of aircraft debris found in Mauritius and South Africa "almost certainly" came from Malaysia Airline flight MH370.

In March 2014, the whole world was stunned when a Boeing 777-200ER, carrying 12 Malaysian crew members and 227 passengers suddenly disappeared as it crashed in crashed in the Indian Ocean, south west of Australia.

Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact less than an hour after takeoff. Until now, the mystery of its vanishing is yet to be solved.

A report from the ATSB has found that the recent debris may be from an engine cowling segment and from a panel segment from the main cabin of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft registered 9M-MRO, the registration number of the missing plane.

"Part number 3 was initially identified from the partial Rolls-Royce stencil as a segment from an aircraft engine cowling. The panel thickness, materials and construction conformed to the applicable drawings for Boeing 777 engine cowlings," the report said.

"Part number 4 was preliminarily identified by the decorative laminate as an interior panel from the main cabin. The location of a piano hinge on the part surface was consistent with a work-table support leg, utilised on the exterior of the MAB Door R1 (forward, right hand) closet panel (Figure 2). The part materials, dimensions, construction and fasteners were all consistent with the drawing for the panel assembly and matched that installed on other MAB Boeing 777 aircraft at the Door R1 location," it added.

BBC noted in an article that the pieces seem credible because no other 777 has ever crashed in the area where they found the debris.

At present, more than 105,000 sq km of the southern Indian Ocean sea floor has been searched for the missing aircraft. Australia, Malaysia and China who are spearheading the search said that in the absence of "credible new information" they will halt the search by the middle of the year.

Aside from the recently recovered two debris, the search team locating traces of the plane in the southern Indian Ocean has also found three other debris - July 2015, in Reunion Island; December 2015, in Mozambique; February 2016, in Mozambique.

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