A piece of apparent aircraft debris found on a beach in Mozambique could have drifted from the likely crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Australia’s government said Friday.
The torn sliver of material bears a “no step” marking commonly seen on aircraft surfaces and carries at least one rivet-like component with a serial number. It is tentatively identified as part of a tail’s horizontal stabilizer.
“The location of the debris is consistent with drift modeling commissioned by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and reaffirms the search area for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean,” Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said in a statement.
“The debris is to be transferred to Australia, where it will be examined by officials from Australia and Malaysia, as well as international specialists.”
MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.
A so-called flaperon from a Boeing 777 wing washed up on the French territory of Reunion Island last summer. In the absence of any identifying marks, the debris was assumed to be from MH370.
No trace of its crash site has been found, although Australia is coordinating a mapping effort of the ocean bed where the jet is thought to have run out of fuel and crashed.
The search of 120,000 square kilometers in total has mapped a vast area of ocean bed, turning up two shipwrecks but no sign of the aircraft.
The hunt is funded through the middle of this year. The ATSB says if there is still no clear information by then, the governments of Australia, Malaysia and China have agreed that there will be no further expansion of the search area.