New studies of an aircraft part found in Tanzania last week indicate that the debris is a piece of wing likely from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014. Authorities believe the Boeing 777-200 with 239 people on board crashed into the Indian Ocean — but a multinational search effort at a cost of more than $100 million has turned up nothing.
But several pieces of airplane debris, some of them confirmed and others strongly believed to be pieces of the missing plane, have been discovered by tourists and other private individuals over the first months of 2016.
— AIRLIVE (@airlivenet) June 25, 2016
The discoveries began in July of 2015, when a large segment of wing known as a flaperon was found washed up on a beach on French-owned Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, off the southeast coast of the African continent.
All of the subsequent debris discoveries have turned up in the same region, in Mozambique, Mauritius, South Africa, and now in Tanzania as well. If confirmed to come from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, the Tanzania debris discovery would be the piece found farthest north of any of the finds so far.
Watch a video of American lawyer Blaine Gibson explain several debris discoveries that he has made in his travels, below.
Aviation experts in Tanzania said on Wednesday that the large chunk of wing appears to have broken off of a Boeing 777 — but they would not go as far as confirming that the wing piece was part of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Tanzania officials said that experts with the country’s Civil Aviation Authority had examined the debris find and determined that it did, in fact, originate with a Boeing 777. And there have been no such planes lost in the region, other than Flight MH370
“It is too early to link the piece of wing to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which was also a Boeing 777,” Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hamza Johari told China’s Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday. “We are also puzzled because no such plane has been reported missing in Tanzania and the entire east African region.”
A separate analysis by independent investigators Michael Exner and Don Thompson also concluded that the wing was part of a Boeing 777-200 — with evidence including a serial number stamped on one of the wing bolts.
— Mike Exner (@Airlandseaman) June 24, 2016
With the whereabouts of all other known Boeing 777-200 airliners in the world accounted for, the wing part would appear to, indeed, have been part of the Malaysia Airlines plane, whose serial number was 9M-MRO.
“PN 113W3004-10 is stamped on the bolt head above,” Exner and Thompson wrote. “This part number is listed in numerous on-line catalogs as a bolt used on the B777-200.This is strong evidence supporting the conclusion this debris is from MH370 (9M-MRO).”
The full report by Exner and Thompson on the Tanzania debris discovery may be accessed online by clicking on this link.
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Several other independent researchers into the MH370 mystery also “pitched in and have found that most likely the object is inner 1/3 section of a 777 right outboard flap,” according to aviation expert and journalist Jeff Wise, author of the book, The Plane That Wasn’t There: Why We Haven’t Found Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
While the debris discoveries would appear to confirm that the Malaysia Airlines plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean nearly 28 months ago, there are still numerous, important mysteries about the plane’s disappearance yet to be addressed.
The debris, at least so far, provides no indication as to why Flight MH370, en route over the South China Sea from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to the Chinese capital of Beijing, would suddenly cut off all communications systems, including the Malaysia Airlines plane’s radar transponder, then take a sharp westerly turn and fly thousands of miles off course until finally meeting a violent end in the remote waters of the Indian Ocean.
[Featured Photo By Joshua Paul / Associated Press]