Malaysia’s government discovered in South Africa new fragments of debris ‘almost certainly’ from Airlines Flight MH370

May 12, 2016 10:30 am

A piece of engine cowling featuring a Rolls-Royce stencil, which was found in earlier this year, is “almost certainly” from the Boeing 777 that went missing. Photo / Supplied

’s government said today two more pieces of debris, discovered in South and Rodrigues Island off Mauritius, were “almost certainly” from Flight 370, bringing the total number of pieces believed to have come from the missing Malaysian jet to five.
The aircraft mysteriously disappeared more than two years ago with 239 people on board, and so far an extensive underwater search of a vast area of the Indian Ocean off Australia’s west coast has turned up empty.
Though the discovery of the debris has bolstered authorities’ assertion that the plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean, none of the parts have thus far yielded any clues into exactly where and why the aircraft crashed. Those elusive answers lie with the flight data recorders, or black boxes, which may never be found, said Geoff Dell, a specialist in accident investigation at Central Queensland University in Australia.
“It shows they’re looking in the right ocean ” that’s about it,” Dell said.

An international team of experts in Australia who examined the debris concluded that both pieces were consistent with panels found on a Malaysia Airlines’ Boeing 777 aircraft, Liow said.Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the two new parts were an engine cowling piece with a partial Rolls-Royce logo and an interior panel piece from an aircraft cabin ” the first interior part found from the missing plane.
“As such, the team has confirmed that both pieces of debris from South Africa and Rodrigues Island are almost certainly from MH370,” he said in a statement.
All five pieces have been found in various spots around the Indian Ocean. Last year, a wing part from the plane washed ashore on France’s Reunion Island. Then in March, investigators confirmed two pieces of debris found along Mozambique’s coast were almost certainly from the aircraft.
The jet, which vanished on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is believed to have crashed somewhere in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean about 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off Australia’s west coast. Authorities had predicted that any debris from the plane that isn’t on the ocean floor would eventually be carried by currents to the east coast of Africa.

French police officers carry the flaperon piece of debris in Saint-Andre, Reunion Island. Photo / AP
Malaysia’s confirmation today that debris found in South Africa and an island off Mauritius came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 brings to five the number of parts that have been recovered from the aircraft that vanished two years ago. Here’s a look at each of the pieces found so far:

THE FLAPERON

Photo / AP

Johnny Begue, who lives on the French island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean, was collecting stones on one of the island’s beaches last July when he saw a two-meter (6-foot) long piece of an airplane wing lying on the sand. The barnacle-encrusted part turned out to be the first trace of Flight 370 that was discovered since the plane disappeared. Authorities in France later confirmed that the part, known as a flaperon, came from the trailing edge of one of Flight 370’s wings.

NO STEPThe discovery provided the first physical proof that the plane had indeed crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Blaine Gibson, an American adventurer who has been hunting for Flight 370 over the past year,discovered the debris that came to be known as “No Step” off the coast of Mozambique in February. After consulting experts on ocean currents and traveling throughout the region looking for any trace of the plane, Gibson asked a boat operator to take him to a sandbar in Mozambique named Paluma. The boat operator called him over after spotting a piece of debris with the words “NO STEP” written on it. Though Gibson initially thought the piece came from a small plane, officials later said it was a part known as a horizontal stabilizer from the missing Boeing 777.

Found off Mozambique. Photo / Supplied

‘RUBBISH’

The piece of debris found in Wartburg, 37km out of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Photo / AP

Liam Lotter, a South African teenager vacationing in Mozambique in December, was strolling on a beach near the resort town of Xai Xai when he spotted a gray piece of debris washed up on the sand. The piece had rivet holes along the edge and the number 676EB stamped on it, convincing him he had found a piece of an aircraft. But after he dragged it back to his family’s vacation home, they dismissed it as “rubbish” that had likely come from a boat. Still, Lotter insisted on bringing it home to South Africa to research it further. The piece was stored with the family’s fishing gear and almost forgotten; his mother even tried to throw it out. In March, Lotter heard the about Gibson’s “No Step” discovery and began to wonder if the piece he’d found might also be from the missing plane. Officials later confirmed it was indeed a part of the vanished aircraft’s right wing, known as flap track fairing.

ROLLS ROYCE

A piece of engine cowling featuring a Rolls-Royce stencil, which was found in South Africa earlier this year, is “almost certainly” from the Boeing 777 that went missing. Photo / Supplied

Neels Kruger, a South African archaeologist, was walking along a lagoon on the southern coast of South Africa near the town of Mossel Bay in March when he spotted something unusual. The piece lying in the sand had a brown honeycomb structure Kruger recognized from other photos of debris believed to be from Flight 370. On one side of the debris, Kruger noticed the remains of a Rolls Royce logo, the manufacturer of aircraft engines. Officials determined it was a segment from an engine cowling that almost certainly came from Flight 370.

FIRST CABIN DEBRIS

Fragment of interior door panel found in Rodrigues Island, Mauritius. Photo / ATSB

The piece of debris that tourists discovered in March on Rodrigues Island in Mauritius was different than the other four: This one had a pattern that appeared to come from a wall inside the plane. Until that point, all the debris that had washed ashore had come from the plane’s exterior. Officials have since determined it was a panel from the main cabin, likely part of a door closet, that almost certainly came from Flight 370.

PARTS LEFT TO BE FOUND

A family member of victim of MH370 plane crash writes a on a message board during a memorial event MH370 Day of Remembrance at The Square of Publika on March 8, 2015. Photo / Getty Images

Though the floating bits of debris that have washed up on coastlines bolster authorities’ assertion that the plane crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean, they offer no clues about why and where it crashed. What officials really hope to find is the underwater wreckage.
This is where the coveted flight data recorders, or “black boxes,” are most likely to be. But hopes are dwindling that the wreckage will be found; search crews have already scoured 105,000 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) of the 120,000 square kilometer (46,000-square-mile) search zone to no avail, and there are no plans to expand the search area further.
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