10 Jun 2016

More likely MH370 debris in Madagascar

5:01 pm on 10 June 2016

New debris, including a piece resembling a plane part, has been found in Madagascar by a man searching for parts of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board. Photo: 123RF

Blaine Alan Gibson made the latest discovery on Riake Beach, on the island of Nosy Boraha in north-east Madagascar.

Mr Gibson, an American lawyer who has made it his mission to find pieces of the plane, had previously found possible debris in Mozambique.

Australian search officials also said today they were checking debris found on Kangaroo Island off the South Australian coast.

MH370 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board when it vanished in March 2014.

The Malaysia Airlines flight is presumed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after veering off course.

Mr Gibson, a lawyer from Seattle, has funded his own search for debris in east Africa.

Don Thompson, a British engineer who is part of an informal international group investigating MH370, said he thought one piece was from the back of a seat, and the other could be part of a cover panel on a plane wing.

"The seat part I am 99.9 percent sure on," he said. "It's the right colour of fabric for Malaysian Airlines. It shows the seat had to have disintegrated to have come away."

Mr Gibson said images of the latest finds had been sent to investigators at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and to officials in Malaysia.

Aircraft debris, suspected to be part of the missing MH370 Malaysian airlines plane, found at the Gris Gris public beach near Souillac, in the southern part of Mauritius Island on May 24.

Aircraft debris, suspected to be part of the missing MH370 Malaysian airlines plane, found at the Gris Gris public beach near Souillac, in the southern part of Mauritius Island on May 24. Photo: AFP PHOTO / Mauritius National Coastguard

A number of other pieces of debris, some confirmed to have come from MH370, have been found in countries near Madagascar.

Mr Gibson said he was ready to hand over the pieces to authorities in Madagascar.

The ATSB confirmed they had received the latest images, and said it was Malaysia that assessed any new leads.

Australia has been leading the search for the missing aircraft, using underwater drones and sonar equipment deployed from specialist ships.

The search, also involving Malaysia and China, has seen more than 105,000 sq km of the 120,000 sq km search zone scoured so far.

All the debris is being examined in Australia by the ATSB and other experts.

But countries have agreed that in the absence of "credible new information" the search is expected to end in the next two months.

- BBC

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