04:47 GMT24 June 2021
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    Australian investigators confirmed Friday that debris discovered in May in Mauritius belongs to the still-missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

    The 239-passenger flight disappeared in March 2014, on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, and the Malaysian and Australian governments have been working together to find the plane’s remains ever since.  

    Last month, Darren Chester, Australia's infrastructure and transport minister confirmed that debris found in Mozambique by a US lawyer "is almost certainly from MH370." 

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced that the airframe section was "a trailing edge section of Boeing 777 left, outboard flap, originating from the Malaysia Airlines aircraft registered 9M-MRO," adding that "a part number was identified on a section of the debris," along with a manufacturer-assigned "unique work order number" that matches the MH370.

    The Mauritius debris is the third item confirmed to be a section of the ill-fated passenger jet. 

    Students watch a three-dimensional graffiti as a way of sympathizing to the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 at a school in Makati City, the Philippines
    © East News / Xinhua News/Rouelle Umali

    Chinese, Malaysian and Australian search parties have covered 42,500 square miles of the search area. With about 10,000 square miles of unsearched territory left to comb, Australian officials say that December will likely see the end of the search.

    In early August, Pandikar Amin, speaker of the Malaysian parliament told an audience "We hope the relatives of the 239 people, including 50 Malaysians, will remain strong…But we know that neither the passage of time, nor this evidence, will comfort those whose grief cannot be assuaged." 

    The first confirmed fragment of MH370 was found on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, by French authorities in July 2015. Malaysian officials confirmed the second piece, which was found off the coast of East African country Tanzania in mid-September.

    In a statement released on Friday, Chester said, "The finding of this debris… continues to affirm the focus of search efforts in the southern Indian Ocean," and that investigators "remain hopeful" that all of MH370’s remains will be recovered. 

    He added that Malaysia, Australia and China "remain committed to doing everything within our means to solving what is an agonizing mystery for the loved ones of those who were lost."

    Some families of MH370 passengers have accused authorities of delaying the investigation and ignoring debris that could belong to the vanished flight. In July, Grace Subathirai, whose mother was aboard the Malaysian flight, Nathan told the BBC, "Credible evidence is turning up, why are they not investigating it?" and "From day one we've had the notion they want an end to it, to sweep it under the rug. How can potential evidence be unattended for a month? It's becoming a farce."

    In June, Malaysian authorities acknowledged that Flight MH370’s pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, plotted a course on his home flight simulator to the same area of the Indian Ocean where the aircraft is thought to have crashed. Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters at the time that Shah had "thousands" of routes programmed into his simulator, and that the Indian Ocean route didn’t necessarily imply that the pilot intentionally took the flight off course.

    Related:

    Malaysia Confirms Wreckage Found in June From Doomed Flight MH370
    MH370: New Search Planned for Plane Wreckage Likely Overlooked
    Probe Plans Drift Study to Spot Crashed MH370 After Official Search Ends
    Malaysian MH370 Crashed Into Ocean at High Speed, Possibly Unmanned
    Malaysia Confirms MH370’s Crash Course Was Plotted On Pilot’s Simulator
    Tags:
    debris, Malaysia Airlines MH370, Mauritius, China, Australia, Malaysia
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