Debris off Tanzania confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
PUBLISHED Thu, September 15, 2016 - 9:29pm EDT
A large piece of aircraft wreckage that was found off Tanzania this summer has been confirmed to have originated from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, marking the sixth such discovery as the search for the main wreckage continues.
The debris was found on Pemba Island off Tanzania on June 20 and has been identified as a section of an outdoor flap on a Boeing 777 aircraft. It was transported to the Australian capital of Canberra, and officials confirmed on Thursday that the debris is in fact part of the missing plane.
"On arrival at the ATSB, several part numbers were immediately located on the debris that confirmed the preliminary identification. This was consistent with the physical appearance, dimensions and construction of the part," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a press statement.
It was not immediately clear why it took investigators so long to announce their findings, but the statement added that the flap section was examined for any evidence that may indicate the state of flap operations at the time it separated from the wings. The results of that examination were not disclosed.
The announcement marks the sixth discovery in the search for the missing airliner, which disappeared from civilian radar in March 2014 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Investigators believe that the aircraft - which was carrying 239 people - continued to fly for nearly 7 more hours before crashing into the southern Indian Ocean.
The disappearance sparked the largest and most expensive search in aviation history, but the main wreckage is still missing. More than 110,000 square kilometers of ocean floor has been searched in the Indian Ocean and the search is likely to be suspended by the end of the year if no new leads are found.
The first piece of debris washed up on France's Reunion Island in July 2015, providing the first confirmation that the flight had in fact crashed into the Indian Ocean. Additional debris washed up on the coast of Mozambique in December 2015, followed by debris that was found on beaches in South Africa and Rodrigues Island in Mauritius in March of this year.
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