Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Scandal Over New Debris Handling? [UPDATED] Malaysia Says Evidence Released

Jonathan Vankin

A day after new, puzzling questions arose over the latest Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 possible debris discoveries, the government of Malaysia is now facing its own questions over how it is — or is not — handling those recently discovered fragments of what is believed to be wreckage of the mysterious, missing plane.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 vanished more that two years ago, on March 8, 2014, and authorities believe that for some unknown reason, the plane with 239 passengers and crew on board flew off course for seven hours before crashing into the remote waters of the Indian Ocean — after cutting off all communications with the ground barely an hour into a routine overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Despite a multi-national search effort costing over $100 million, not a single trace of the plane turned up until July 29, 2015, when a chunk of wing known as a "flaperon" washed up on a beach on the French-owned Reunion Island (see above photo).

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Two more pieces of what experts believe could be Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris were discovered earlier this year, both by tourists, on beaches in Mozambique, a southeastern Africa coastal nation. But neither of those two possible fragments of the missing plane have yet been examined by authorities.

UPDATE, March 20: According to a press release issued Sunday by the Malaysia Ministry of Transport, the two pieces of Mozambique debris have been transported to Australia, and arrived there on Sunday morning, March 20. No timetable for examination of the possible Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris by Australian authorities has been reported.

— 5FM (@5FM) March 14, 2016

Now experts who have followed the Flight MH370 case from the beginning want to know when those debris fragments will be examined by the Australian investigators in charge of the search effort — and why the Malaysian government seems to be simply sitting on them.

The concerns took on a special urgency this weekend, after one expert on the Malaysia Airlines disappearance, science journalist Jeff Wise, published a report saying that an early appraisal seemed to show that the two debris pieces, rather than floating in the waters of the Indian Ocean for nearly two years before reaching Mozambique, had been in the water for no more than a "a couple of weeks," or even just "a couple of days."

Wise based his report on interviews with marine biologists who were stunned by the seeming lack of sea organism growth on the two debris pieces — growth that they said would have been clearly evident had the objects been in ocean water since March 8, 2014.

— Press TV (@PressTV) March 12, 2016

"So far as can be established, these two superficially surprisingly clean Mozambique fragments that were supposedly destined for examination in Australia by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau, which is managing the sea floor search for MH370, are in Kuala Lumpur, in 'safe keeping" pending examination,'" wrote aviation blogger Ben Sandilands on Saturday.

"The ATSB has said remarkably little about the investigation of the Mozambique discoveries other than initially confirming that they would be sent to Australia for examination," he wrote. "It never said via Kuala Lumpur for an unknown period."

A third piece of debris discovered earlier this year on Reunion Island was reported this week to have not originated from the missing Malaysia Airlines 777-200. But when Sandilands posed a question about the status of all the debris fragments to the ATSB, he received what seemed to be a contradictory response.

"The French judicial authorities have not yet completed their examination of both pieces found on La Reunion."

When the Malaysian government plans to release its own findings about the two new debris fragments, or whether it even believes that they come from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, remains an unanswered question — adding yet another layer of confusion to what is already the most baffling mystery in aviation history.

[Featured Photo By Lucas Marie/Associated Press]