Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: 4th Possible Debris Piece This Week Discovered — Many More Could Follow, Experts Say

Jonathan Vankin

After three new pieces of debris thought to come from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were discovered on beaches in the Western Indian Ocean last week, the week closed out with the revelation that another, fourth fragment from the crashed airliner had also been discovered in the same area.

— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 27, 2016

"Luca Kuhn von Burgsdorff contacted the BBC on Thursday to say he found the fragment on the Macaneta Peninsula," a BBC report stated on Friday. "The authorities have been notified. The piece must be examined by the official investigation team in Australia."

The Macaneta Peninsula is a narrow strip of land protruding into the Indian ocean off the Mozambique coast.

The sudden discovery of three possible MH370 debris fragments in one week, all in a region of the Indian Ocean off the coast of southeastern Africa, has raised hopes that the floodgates may be opening for even more evidence of what became of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, which disappeared with 239 people on board.

"I think this qualifies as a 'debris storm,'" journalist and independent Flight MH370 expert Jeff Wise wrote on his blog Friday. "At the rate stuff is turning up, there should be a lot more to come. There hasn't even been an organized search yet!"

Despite the repeated debris discoveries in the region — the latest turning up on a coastline in Mozambique — the Australian-led official search team has not yet dispatched investigators to comb the area in a systematic fashion.

— Richard Westcott (@BBCwestcott) May 26, 2016

Investigators hope that the increasing number of debris finds will help provide clues to the fate of Flight MH370, which vanished in mid-flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8, 2014. A search estimated to cost about $130 million has turned up nothing thus far.

But, the search has been confined to a remote region of the Indian Ocean that investigators have dubbed "The Seventh Arc," about 3,700 miles east of Mozambique. the area where all nine debris shards have turned up.

All of the nine confirmed or possible pieces of Flight MH370 debris have so far been picked up by tourists.

Australian investigators have said that the discovery of debris in Mozambique — as well South Africa, Mauritius and Reunion Island, where debris has also been found — is consistent with ocean drift analysis that would place the plane somewhere in the Seventh Arc.

But, two independent drift pattern studies have placed the likely location of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 wreckage in the northern Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles to the north of the current search area.

— INQUISITION NEWS (@InquisitionNews) May 20, 2016

At the same time, authorities say that the official search effort will likely end this summer, whether the missing plane is located in the Seventh Arc or not, and they are not optimistic that anything will be found there.

"We are at the point of the search where we have to contemplate the possibility that we won't find it," said Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief Martin Dolan earlier in May. "The families will be upset, disappointed."


So far, the search has covered about 90 percent of the 46,000 square mile Seventh Arc region, an area roughly the size of the state of Mississippi, with no results. But, Dolan says that the search team has no plans to continue combing the ocean floor beyond the current search zone, meaning that the final resting place of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, as well as the details about what caused the plane to fly thousands of miles off course and disappear, may never be known.

[Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images]