Malaysia says debris found in Maldives could be from MH370

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Photo of suspected plane debris that washed ashore the Maldive Kaafu Atoll on May 31.
Image: Mohamed Wafir (via Facebook).
This map displays the location of Reunion Island, because of the debris part found there in 2015-07, in relation to the known flight path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Image: AHeneen.

Malaysian officials stated Wednesday, some of the debris found in the Maldives will be brought back to Malaysia to determine if they are from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) as they now believe. A team arrived Tuesday in Maldives to take charge of the debris, which had previously been disposed of as trash.

"We [Malaysia] have an understanding with the authorities there [Maldives] ...we think the parts which were found about a month ago were parts of the aircraft," said Ab Aziz Kaprawi, the deputy transport minister for Malaysia as quoted by Bernama, a Malaysian government news agency. "They have to be further analysed and will be brought back to Malaysia for verification," he added.

"The parts are currently undergoing few processes before they can be released and brought to Malaysia for further identification and verification," said Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia's transport minister during a press conference today. "If it belongs to Boeing 777 then we will have to carry out further analysis and verification," he added. Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation will be in charge of examining the debris once it arrives in the country.

The debris washed ashore the Kaafu Atoll reportedly around May 31 and was recovered by employees of the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Resort. However the debris had been disposed of as trash before authorities could examine it. An investigation into the debris was launched after photos of it were uploaded to the social networking service Facebook, by an employee of the resort. The photographs show a large white object, possibly two, stained with algae and appear to be made of a fiberglass and honeycomb material.

Debris has since washed ashore on at least three other Maldives locations, the Baa Atoll, and the islands of Fehendhoo and Fulhahdhoo, but most of it isn't believed to be from an aircraft. Abdulla Rasheed, a captain of a cargo boat which recently capsized in the waters off the Maldives stated, "From the pictures of the debris found on most of the islands, I can almost certainly say that they are from the cargo we were carrying." Despite this possibility, any debris located is being gathered up until Malaysian authorities can examine it.

"We are collecting any unidentified debris and storing them in a warehouse so that the Malaysians can carry out tests and determine if it is from their plane or not," said the office of the Maldives President in a statement reported by Haveeru Daily on Monday.

MH370, while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China, vanished on March 8, 2014. All 239 passengers and crew are believed to be dead. On the day the plane went missing, residents on the small Maldives island of Kudahuvadhoo claimed to have seen a very "low flying jumbo jet" crash into the Indian Ocean. Some also noted the colors appeared to resemble that of a Malaysia Airlines plane. "I’ve never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly", one resident was quoted as saying to the newspaper Haveeru Daily. Some claim the plane appeared to be headed in the direction of Diego Garcia, but Malaysian authorities have discounted those claims.

"Based on the monitoring up to date, no indication of Flight MH370 has been observed on any military radars in the country [Maldives]. Furthermore, the data of radars at Maldives airports have also been analysed and shows no indication of the said flight," said Malaysia's transport ministry at the time of the report.