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The Latest: Malaysia: High probability new debris from 777

3 March 2016 9:00 AM
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Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai says based on pictures of the debris found on Mozambique, there is a “high probability” that the part is from a Boeing 777. Flight 370 is the only missing 777.

Lai said on Thursday that the area where it was found matches investigators’ predictions of where debris from the plane would end up.

Liow says a Malaysian team with representatives from the country’s civil aviation department, Malaysia Airlines and investigators will be heading to Mozambique. The debris is still in Mozambique and Liow says it is unclear when it will be sent to Australia for examination.

Liow says authorities in Mozambique are helping to comb the area where it was found for other possible debris.

An oceanographer says there may be a reason why the debris found in Mozambique appears to be free of sea life — unlike the barnacle-encrusted wing part found on Reunion Island last year.

Charitha Pattiaratchi at the University of Western Australia said if the part was discovered on a sandbank as reported, the motion of the waves against the abrasive sand may have shaved off any sea life. If it had been found at sea, he says he would expect barnacles, “But if it’s been on a beach, it’s basically been sandblasted.”

Also, the part appears to be flat and barnacles need something to grip. He noted the flaperon had barnacles only on the corners and the crevices.

Pattiaratchi has used computer modeling to predict a Flight 370 debris path, and in September he met American Blaine Gibson, who’s been searching the region’s beaches for the debris and wanted the oceanographer’s opinion on where to look.

Pattiaratchi’s models indicated Madagascar or Reunion Island, and possibly in the Mozambique channel. That’s apparently where Gibson went, Pattiaratchi said.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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