Reuters – A piece of debris found off the southeast African coast that could be from a missing Malaysia Airlines flight is being sent to Australia for testing, officials said on Thursday, two years after the plane carrying 239 people disappeared.
The debris will be tested by officials in Australia, with help from Malaysian authorities and representatives of manufacturer Boeing Co (BA.N).
“It is too early to speculate on the origin of the debris at this stage,” Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester told parliament.
However, the piece was found in “a location consistent with drift modeling commissioned by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau”, he said.
Chester’s comments added to a fresh sense of optimism after Malaysia’s transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai, said on Wednesday there was a “high possibility” the metal chunk belonged to a 777 jet, the same type of aircraft as MH370.
Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 passengers and crew on board shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.
It is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean and an initial search of a 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq miles) area of sea floor has been extended to another 60,000 sq km.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said he had “noted” the report about the new possible piece of debris.
“We will closely track the development of the situation, and maintain close contact with relevant sides. We will also work with relevant countries to make great efforts to continue the search work for MH370,” he told reporters in Beijing.
Voice370, a group representing households of these on board the missing plane, mentioned the discovery meant the search ought to concentrate on the coastlines of Mozambique and Madagascar.
“Debris fields, though subject to some degree of dispersal by the elements, generally tend to make landfall in close proximity,” the group said in a statement.