Initially, Lotter’s parents assumed it was a piece of a boat, and discarded his find as a “piece of rubbish.” Undeterred, Lotter insisted the family bring it back to South Africa to investigate further.
"He was adamant he wanted to bring it home because it had a number on it," said his father, Casper Lotter. "It just grabbed him for some weird reason.”
When they returned home, the item was nearly forgotten, and his mother at one point attempted to throw it out. That changed however, when Lotter heard about another possible piece of the plane being discovered approximately 186 miles from where he found the wing.
"I was very shocked — Mozambique, similar color, similar area," the teen said of the piece discovered by an American man. "He described it similarly to what I'm looking at right now."
"We have arranged for collection of the part, which will be sent to Australia as they are the ones appointed by Malaysia to identify parts found," Kabelo Ledwaba, spokesman for the South African Civil Aviation Authority, said.
The teen is not an aviation enthusiast, making it that much more intriguing that he was so compelled to investigate. He hopes that his find will inspire others who may have found debris that could be from the plane to provide them to authorities, and that the families of those lost aboard the plane "know that we're finding evidence, finding out how it happened, where it happened, just to give them some closure."