A new piece of debris believed to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, has raised new questions about the origin of the debris shard, even as a sharp-eyed independent investigator appears to have identified the precise spot from inside the Boeing 777-200 where the new fragment originated.
The debris, found on April 2 by a tourist on Rodrigues Island in the archipelago nation of Mauritias, has not been confirmed to have come from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. But it turned up in the same region of the Indian Ocean where four other pieces of debris either confirmed or strongly believed to be pieces of the vanished plane have turned up.
Mauritias lies in the Indian Ocean west of Mozambique and South Africa, where three of the debris fragments were found, and about 140 miles northwest of Reunion Island, where a piece of the plane’s wing appeared on a beach back in July of last year.
For more details on the discovery of the new, Rodrigues Island possible Flight MH370 debris, watch the CNN report in the video below.
The possibility is particularly haunting, calling up images of what might have been happening inside the plane as it descended and slammed into the water of the remote Indian Ocean, after mysteriously flying almost seven-and-a-half hours west of its original flight path, which took it from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Why the plane cut off communication with the ground and took a sharp westerly turn about an hour into its overnight commuter flight remains a total mystery.
The apparent location of the original debris fragment was pinpointed by a Twitter user identifying herself only as Annette with the screen name @aussie500, who used Photoshop to find where the fragment fit on the interior of a Boeing 777-200.
She located the fit on a panel near the floor, adjacent to a flight attendant’s seat.
— Annette (@aussie500) April 4, 2016
“The image shows where a sudden blast of water tore through the cabin destroying the bulkhead in a fraction of a second,” wrote blogger Ben Sandilands, who has posted frequently about the MH370 mystery.
Another Twitter user who looked at the image agreed with Sandilands assessment, saying that patterns of cracking on the fragment that appeared on top indicate that the plane crashed into the water, diving nose first.
Cracks of panel around hinge indicate sudden compressive force. Consistent with sudden high speed/energy nose down entry. #MH370
— MuOne (@MuOneOz) April 5, 2016
Previously, independent investigators have speculated that the plane was deliberately “ditched” or landed flat on the water by a rogue pilot or highly sophisticated hijacker.
Another independent investigator, Edward Baker, posted a fuller theory of how the impact of the plane on the water dislodged the fragment.
— Edward Baker (@Edward_767) April 5, 2016
But Baker also noticed an apparent anomaly in images of the new debris fragment — an anomaly that journalist Jeff Wise, who has served as a commentator on the case for CNN and published several articles about the Malaysia Airlines mystery in New York Magazine, pointed out on his blog.
“While this discovery seems to bring us one step closer to understanding the significance of this find, Edward also raises another observation about the piece that does the opposite,” Wise wrote. “Examining the images posted on Facebook by the Marouk Ebony hotel, he noticed that the images of one side of the piece don’t match those of the other.”
Five pieces of debris that are either confirmed or strongly suspected to be part of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have now been found by tourists on the southeast coast of Africa or on islands off that coast. But a multimillion-dollar search effort centered on an area in the Indian Ocean 3,000 to 4,000 miles west of those areas has so far turned up nothing.
[Featured Photo By Joshua Paul/Associated Press]