Sydney – A piece of wing debris found in Mauritius is from MH370, Australia said on Friday, the latest fragment discovered along western Indian Ocean shorelines that has been linked to the missing passenger jet.
The composite debris, recovered from the Indian Ocean island nation in May, “was a trailing edge section of Boeing 777 left, outboard flap, originating from the Malaysian Airlines aircraft registered 9M-MRO (MH370)”, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a report.
The government agency is leading the search for the Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines plane – which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 carrying 239 passengers and crew – in the southern Indian Ocean far off Western Australia’s coast.
“A part number was identified on a section of the debris,” the ATSB said, adding that another “unique work order number” assigned by the flap manufacturer corresponded to MH370.
The report came two weeks after the ATSB said officials had yet to link debris recovered from Madagascar by US amateur investigator Blaine Gibson to MH370 or a Boeing 777.
Officials also said that the debris found in Madagascar was not exposed to fire, quashing earlier speculation.
No trace of MH370 has been recovered from the current 120 000-square-kilometre search zone, fuelling speculation it may have crashed outside the area.
But several pieces of debris linked to the flight have been discovered along western Indian Ocean shorelines – in Mozambique, South Africa and Mauritius.
The first piece found was a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon that washed up on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion in July 2015.
More than 110 000 square kilometres of the search area has been scoured so far, Australia said last month, adding that the hunt was set to be completed in December.