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Debris from missing flight MH370 found on coast of Africa

The debris, found on Pemba Island, is the latest piece of wreckage to be linked to the Malaysia Airlines jet, whose disappearance remains a mystery.

shutterstock_331332335 A beach on Pemba island off the coast of Tanzania. Source: Shutterstock

A LARGE ITEM of debris found off the coast of Tanzania belongs to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australian and Malaysian investigators have said.

The fragment, said to be an inboard section of the right, outboard flap of the plane, was recovered in June but its provenance has just been confirmed.

MH370, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, had 239 people on board when it vanished in March 2014.

The Boeing 777 is presumed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after veering off course.

The piece is now being examined for any evidence that may indicate how the flap was operating at the time of separation from the wing, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said in a report.

This could help throw light on whether the plane was being flown when it came down in the sea.

shutterstock_86436220 Pemba Source: Shutterstock

Archipelago

The debris, found on Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago off the Tanzanian coast, is the latest piece of wreckage to be linked to the Malaysia Airlines jet, whose disappearance remains a mystery.

Malaysia’s transport ministry said the piece of debris, which had been taken to Australia for expert analysis, was found to have part numbers, date stamps and other identifiers confirming it came from the Malaysia Airlines jet.

“As such, the experts have concluded that the debris, an outboard flap, originated from the aircraft 9M-MRO, also known as MH370,” a ministry statement said.

Further examination of the debris will continue in hopes that evidence may be uncovered which may provide new insight into the circumstances surrounding flight MH370.

Authorities had earlier said the piece of debris was “highly likely” to have come from MH370.

However, the confirmation appears to have so far shed no fresh light on the plane’s fate.

The Malaysia Airlines jet was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March, 2014.

Malaysia Missing Plane A waiter walks past a mural of flight MH370 in Shah Alam outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia earlier this year. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Deep-sea hunt

It is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean, but an extensive deep-sea hunt off Australia’s west coast is drawing to a close with nothing found yet.

However, several pieces of debris that apparently drifted thousands of kilometres toward the African coast have been identified as definitely or probably from the Boeing 777.

Those finds have confirmed the plane went down but have so far shed no light on why and have fuelled questions over whether the official search is focused in the right area.

The Australian-led operation is scouring the seafloor within a remote 120,000-square-kilometre (46,000-square-mile) belt of the Indian Ocean where authorities believe the passenger jet went down.

The search is nearly finished, however, and families are bracing for it to be called off.

An American amateur investigator, Blaine Gibson, handed other possible MH370 debris to Australian officials last Monday, saying several pieces were blackened by flames, raising the prospect of a flash fire onboard.

Gibson, a lawyer, who has travelled the world trying to solve the MH370 mystery, told Australian reporters the debris had washed up in Madagascar.

- © AFP, 2016 with reporting from Darragh Peter Murphy.

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