Two pieces of debris found across far-flung stretches of the Indian Ocean “almost certainly” came from Flight 370, the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared without a trace in March 2014, MSN is reporting.
The two pieces of debris were found in March, but only on Thursday did authorities announce that they were likely from the missing aircraft. One piece was found by an archaeologist walking along South Africa’s coast, and the other found by tourists on the beach on the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues Island off Mauritius.
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Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said one of the pieces found came from the aircraft’s engine: a piece of engine cowling bearing a Rolls-Royce logo (Rolls-Royce, in addition to manufacturing high-end luxury cars, makes aircraft engines). The other piece, the first interior portion of the aircraft to be recovered, is believed to be part of a closet.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 12, 2016
The discovery of the two pieces of debris brings to five the number of parts of the missing aircraft to be recovered since it went down two years ago.
Malaysian Airlines flight 370 (or MH 370 for short) went down on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The aircraft, with 239 people on board, disappeared without a trace. As of this writing, officials still have no idea what happened to the aircraft, and investigators have found precious little to go on in terms of debris.
Dell isn’t even hopeful that the discovery of the debris will even provide insight into what went wrong with the flight.
“I wouldn’t hang your hat too much on what it says, other than it’s got to come out of the airplane somehow and that suggests there was a structural failure in the fuselage that allowed it to get out. But how, exactly — who knows?”
Meanwhile, an extensive search of the ocean floor, in a 40,000-square-mile region where the flight is believed to have gone down, has failed to turn up anything. Any other pieces that didn’t sink to the ocean floor are likely being carried by ocean currents and may eventually wind up on the east coast of Africa.
Geoff Dell, a specialist in accident investigation at Central Queensland University in Australia, says that all investigators can say for certain is that Flight 370 went down in the Indian Ocean.
“It shows they’re looking in the right ocean — that’s about it.”
What investigators need — and what they have concluded they are unlikely to ever find — are the plane’s flight data recorders, the so-called “black boxes.”
It is, however, possible that scientists studying marine life attached to the debris could somehow use that information to nail down where in the ocean the plane went down, but so far, they’ve found nothing conclusive.
For the families of the passengers who went down on Flight 370 two years ago, the discovery of the debris offers little hope.
Still, many of the families are still holding out hope that, two years later, the passengers are somehow still alive. Zhang Qian, whose husband Wang Houbin was on the flight, refused to believe that her husband is dead.
“I just don’t believe what they said and no matter how many pieces of debris they’ve found, I just don’t think it is true. Unless we have a clear and full explanation of what has really happened from the beginning to the end, solving all the puzzles, we just feel they are still trying to trick us.”
Investigators hope to conclude their search of the ocean floor where they believe Flight 370 went down by the end of June.
[Photo by LEUT Kelli Lunt/Australia Department of Defence via Getty Images]