A new piece of possible Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris, discovered last week by tourists on the island of Rodrigues, about 1,200 miles off the coast of east Africa, may tell investigators more about what might have happened to the mysteriously missing plane than any of the five fragments of possible or confirmed Flight MH370 that have been discovered previously.
The new debris find is believed by independent investigators, as well as by the individuals who found it, to come from the interior of the Malaysia Airlines plane’s cabin, possibly from the business class passenger section.
— Don Thompson (@GuardedDon) April 1, 2016
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 with 238 passengers and crew on board, suddenly cut off communication with the ground during what looked like a routine overnight flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8, 2014 — almost 25 months ago.
Investigators determined, using satellite data, that the plane most likely took a sharp, westerly turn off of its route and flew for another seven hours until crashing onto a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean. But until a piece of the plane’s wing was discovered on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean last July, there was no hard evidence to support that scenario, or even that the plane crashed at all.
But this year, five possible pieces of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris have appeared on beaches in the general vicinity of Reunion.
The following video news report contains more details of the new possible Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 debris discovery.
The latest find was picked up by tourists staying at the Marouk Ebony Hotel on Rodrigues, an island in the archipelago nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, less than 150 miles northeast of Reunion.
“For sure it looked like part of an airplane. It looks like it’s from the inside part of it,” Mourouk Ebony owner William Auguste told the BBC. “There was wallpaper inside of the plane, you can see this design and part of it is still there.”
But according to science writer and aviation expert Jeff Wise, who has reported on the Flight MH370 case from its beginning, the latest piece of debris, if indeed it is confirmed to originate from the missing Boing 777-200, may be the most important find so far.
— Jeff Wise (@ManvBrain) April 2, 2016
The Mourouk Ebony Hotel posted the following picture of the new debris find on its Facebook page.
According to Wise, the growth of marine organisms on the debris shard could give investigators a much clearer picture of where Flight MH370 actually went down.
“A closer look at the new piece shows that it is actually dotted all over with small goose barnacles,” Wise wrote on his blog on Sunday, April 2.
“If marine biologists are able to examine the barnacles quickly, they could learn quite a bit about the species makeup and age of the animals; testing the shells for barium and oxygen isotope levels could yield clues about where the piece drifted.”
Two pieces of debris discovered in Mozambique earlier this year, and which have been called by officials “highly likely” to have come from the Malaysia Airlines plane, appeared to have almost no marine organisms growing on them at all.
When Wise asked marine biologists for their opinion of how that could happen, they said that the lack of barnacle growth suggested that the debris had been in the ocean for mere weeks or even days — not the two years since the plane disappeared.
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The new piece of debris, if confirmed to be part of Malaysia Airlines plane 9M-MRO (pictured at the top of this page), the Boeing 777-200 that flew as Flight MH370 on March 8 of 2014, would be the first piece of the plane’s interior to be discovered. Experts say that if authentic, the new debris find would all but confirm that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crashed violently into the water — contradicting earlier theories that the plane’s pilot for some reason deliberately ditched the aircraft in a water landing.
[Featured Photo By Aero Icarus/Wikimedia Commons]