Sydney, Australia | AFP |
A piece of aircraft debris found off the coast of Tanzania will be examined to see whether it could be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australian officials said.
Australia’s Transport Minister Darren Chester gave no description of the fragment found on Pemba Island, the latest in a string of pieces being examined for links to the aircraft lost more than two years ago with 239 people onboard.
“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is seeking further information on the debris to ascertain whether it was from the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, MH370,” Chester said in a statement.
The bureau said Malaysian officials were in contact with Tanzanian authorities to arrange for the piece to be examined.
The final location of MH370, which was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished in March 2014, has never been found despite an extensive search.
But pieces of debris thought almost certainly to have come from the plane have washed up on the Indian Ocean islands of Reunion and Mauritius as well as in South Africa and Mozambique.
In May, Chester said three more pieces were to be tested — two from Mauritius and another from Mozambique, but gave no further details.
Australia is coordinating the underwater search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean far off its western coast and so far some 105,000 square kilometres (40,540 square miles) have been searched.
Australia, Malaysia and China — which had significant numbers of citizens on the plane — have said the hunt will be abandoned once the agreed search area is thoroughly combed.
Officials from the three countries met earlier this week to discuss the search and Chester said discussions were productive but gave no further details ahead of a ministerial meeting planned for late July.