The search for the ill-fated Flight MH370 has seen a new twist after media reports said pieces of a plane had washed ashore recently on a beach in Queensland, Australia. The debris was discovered by Mick Elcoate, who was fishing in the area on 5 October. Elcoate told The Australian newspaper that he initially thought that the pieces, which were covered in shells, were debris from a yacht. He then decided to post pictures of his find on Facebook. Users told him that the pieces most likely belonged to an airplane.
"Everyone was going crazy for it, saying it’s a trim tab. It does look a lot like that, so it would be interesting to know where it came from", Elcoate said, adding that the discovered parts look as if they have spent a long time in the water.
The pictures of the debris were then shared by a Facebook group called the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). The group highlighted the similarities between the finding and the Boeing-777 that disappeared over the South China Sea.
Ben Morgan, executive director of the AOPA, said the parts needed to be examined by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
"If it was MH370 it would turn everything on its head. The only other Boeing aircraft to crash in this part of the world, was the 737 Max in 2018", Morgan said.
The ATSB, for its part, said it doesn’t believe that the debris belongs to Flight MH370. Aviation researcher Mick Gilbert assumed that the parts are likely pieces of Air Niugini Flight 73 that “landed short of the runaway at Chuuk International Airport” in 2018.
Why is it important?
The disappearance of Flight MH370 is considered one of aviation’s greatest mysteries. To this day, it remains unknown what happened to the plane as well as its 227 passengers and 12 crew members who were on board. The search for the ill-fated jet was suspended in 2017. Possible causes of its disappearance include hijacking, a terrorist attack, and involvement of the crew. The only clue investigators have found is that the plane veered sharply off its original course before it vanished from radar screens and that its resting place is probably somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Several pieces of debris belonging to the plane have washed ashore in the Indian Ocean.
Malaysian authorities have repeatedly said that if "new credible evidence" about MH370 is discovered, they would consider reopening the case.