Malaysian transport minister Liow Tiong Lai has effectively confirmed reports that a piece of debris that washed ashore in Mozambique this week likely belongs to a Boeing 777. “Based on early reports, [there is] a high possibility [that] debris found in Mozambique belongs to a B777,” he wrote on his Twitter feed Wednesday. After noting that the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation was working with Australian authorities to retrieve the debris, found on a sand bar just off the coast, he warned against speculation that the piece belongs to the still missing 777 used for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing in 2014.
“I urged everyone to avoid undue speculation as we are not able to conclude that the debris belongs to MH370 at this time,” he said, in response to reports of the finding by NBC News.
Contacted by AIN for comment, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center said that debris “possibly from an aircraft,” has been found in Mozambique. “We are working with officials in Mozambique and Malaysia to investigate,” a media spokesman confirmed.
The discovery comes almost exactly two years after MH370 vanished after diverting from its intended flight path between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Last July an environmental worker found a flaperon from the ill-fated Boeing’s 777 on a beach in the town of Saint Andre on Reunion Island, not far from the site of this latest discovery. The conclusion that the flaperon came from MH370 supports the contention, based on radar and satellite data, that MH370 “turned back” from its flight path over the South China Sea and crossed the Malaysian peninsula on a westerly course. The loss of the aircraft led the International Aviation Safety Organization to require that airlines track their aircraft at regular intervals using available technology.
Malaysia has officially declared the disappearance of MH370 an accident and leads the investigation of its cause. Boeing, France’s BEA aviation accident investigation authority, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also participate. Plans call for the investigation to end in the middle of 2016 if authorities can offer no credible explanation for the 777's disappearance by then.