MH370 debris could reach Mozambique: officials

SYDNEY, Australia - Debris that washed ashore in Mozambique that may be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 turned up in a spot that matches investigators' theories about where wreckage from the plane would have ended up, Australian officials said Thursday.

See Full Article

Photos of the debris discovered over the weekend appear to show the fixed leading edge of the right-hand tail section of a Boeing 777, said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. Flight 370, which disappeared two years ago with 239 people aboard, is the only known missing 777.

The plane is believed to have crashed somewhere in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean far off Australia's west coast and about 6,000 kilometres to the east of Mozambique. But authorities have long predicted that any debris from the plane that isn't on the ocean floor would eventually be carried by currents to the east coast of Africa.

Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester reiterated that opinion Thursday, saying the location of the debris in Mozambique matches investigators' drift modeling and would therefore confirm that search crews are looking in the right part of the Indian Ocean for the main underwater wreckage. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai also said the location of the debris lined up with investigators' predictions.

People who have handled the part, called a horizontal stabilizer, say it appears to be made of fiberglass composite on the outside, with aluminum honeycombing on the inside, the U.S. official said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is running the search for the plane in remote waters off Australia's west coast, said the part was expected to be transported to Australia for examination.

Malaysian representatives from the nation's Civil Aviation department and Malaysia Airlines were heading to Mozambique to discuss the find, Liow said.

From the pictures shown, it's high probability that the plane debris is from Boeing 777," Liow told reporters.

He did not know how long it would be before the part was sent to Australia. Meanwhile, authorities in Mozambique were combing the area where it was found to search for other potential debris, Liow said.

Australian officials have seen photographs of the part and have been in communication with Blaine Gibson, the American man who found it, said Dan O'Malley, a spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

"We're aware of these reports that debris has been found in Mozambique," O'Malley said. "We're working with officials in Mozambique and Malaysia to investigate."

Australia will work with Malaysian investigators to examine the object once it arrives in Australia, he said. The ATSB hasn't made any determinations yet about the potential origins of the debris.

"We have to wait until we have the actual debris examined," O'Malley said. "We're not going to draw conclusions from the photos."

Some have expressed skepticism that the part could be from the missing aircraft because it appears to be remarkably clean and free of sea life - unlike the barnacle-encrusted wing part that washed ashore on the French island of Reunion last year. That part, known as a flaperon, remains the only confirmed trace of Flight 370.

But Charitha Pattiaratchi, an oceanographer with the University of Western Australia, said if the part was discovered on a sandbank as reported, the motion of the waves pushing it against the abrasive sand may have shaved any sea life off it.

"If somebody actually found it in the middle of the ocean while they were sailing and picked it up, I would say, 'Well, that should have some barnacles,"' he said. "But if it's been on a beach, it's basically been sandblasted."

Also, the part appears to be very flat and barnacles need something to grip, he said.

Last year, Pattiaratchi met with Gibson, a Seattle man who has been combing beaches around the region for debris from the missing plane.

Pattiaratchi has used computer modeling to predict where floating debris from Flight 370 might end up and Gibson wanted to get Pattiaratchi's opinion on where to look. Pattiaratchi's models showed it would likely end up around Madagascar or Reunion Island, and possibly in the Mozambique Channel. And that's apparently where Gibson went, Pattiaratchi said.

Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Authorities who scrutinized data exchanged between the plane's engine and a satellite determined that after veering sharply off course, the jetliner continued on a straight path across the Indian Ocean, leading them to believe that it flew on autopilot for hours before running out of fuel and crashing into the water.

Australia has led a multinational search effort, which also includes the Malaysian and Chinese governments. But no trace of the passengers, their luggage or even things designed to float, such as life jackets, has been discovered.

With authorities unable to find the plane and its "black box" flight data and cockpit voice recorders, investigators are no closer than they were two years ago to discovering the cause of the aircraft's disappearance.

With the search tentatively scheduled to wrap up in June, Flight 370 may become one of aviation's great unsolved mysteries.

Liow, the Malaysian transport minister, said it was premature to say whether the search could be expanded beyond June. Ministers from Malaysia, Australia and China will meet in Kuala Lumpur in June to assess the situation and listen to experts' views, Liow said.

An international investigation team looking into the disappearance will issue an interim statement on March 8, Liow said.

-----

Associated Press writers Joan Lowy in Washington, Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur and Emmanuel Camillo in Maputo, Mozambique, contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Strong earthquake near Osaka, Japan, causes scattered damage

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- A strong earthquake shook the city of Osaka in western Japan on Monday morning, causing scattered damage including broken glass and partial building collapses. There were no immediate reports of injuries. The quake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 struck around 8 a.m. Source
  • 5 dead as SUV chased by U.S. Border Patrol crashes in Texas

    World News CTV News
    BIG WELLS, Texas -- At least five people are dead and several others hurt as an SUV carrying more than a dozen people crashed while fleeing from Border Patrol agents in South Texas. Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd says the SUV went out of control at more than 100 mph and overturned on Texas Highway 85, ejecting those inside. Source
  • Alberta mosque set ablaze in 'brazen' attack

    Canada News CBC News
    A mosque in Edson, Alta. was set on fire late Saturday night shortly after a small group of people left the building after evening prayers. The three people who were praying inside had left the mosque and were still in the parking lot when a fire started at the building's south entrance at around 11 p.m. Source
  • Alberta mosque set ablaze in 'brazen' arson

    Canada News CBC News
    A mosque in Edson, Alta. was set on fire late Saturday night shortly after a small group of people left the building after evening prayers. The three people who were praying inside had left the mosque and were still in the parking lot when a fire started at the building's south entrance at around 11 p.m. Source
  • Dogs saved from Korean meat farm are recovering well in Montreal shelter

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The 50 terrified dogs and puppies rescued from crammed cages on a South Korean dog meat farm are well on their way to becoming pets in Canada, Humane Society International said. The dogs -- which include terrier crosses, Jindo mixes and Labrador mixes -- were recovered with the help of animal advocates in Korea and transported to a Montreal emergency shelter last week. Source
  • N.B. First Nation chief says his election points to progress

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The new leader of a New Brunswick First Nation said he's proud to be elected as the first openly LGBTQ chief in Atlantic Canada -- though he said he's more well-known in his community for his leadership skills and creativity. Source
  • New opera tells little-known story of Canadian nurses killed in WWI boat sinking

    Canada News CBC News
    A new opera tells the story of the Llandovery Castle, a Canadian hospital ship that was torpedoed by a German U-boat during the First World War, taking hundreds of lives — including those of 14 nurses. Source
  • Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas

    World News CTV News
    MCALLEN, Texas -- Hundreds of children are waiting away from their parents inside a Border Patrol holding facility in South Texas, with groups of 20 or more children to a single cage. There are bottles of water, bags of chips, and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. Source
  • Toronto police charge man in death of woman he allegedly met online

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police have charged a Brampton, Ont., man with second-degree murder after a woman was found dead in her apartment Tuesday. Police say 41-year-old Richard Isaac has been arrested in connection with the death of 28-year-old Victoria Selby-Readman. Source
  • Man faces murder charge in death of Toronto woman he met online: police

    Canada News CTV News
    A man has been arrested and charged with murder after a 28-year-old woman he allegedly met online was found dead in a downtown Toronto apartment building on Tuesday, police say. Richard Isaac, 41, of Brampton, Ont. Source