MH370 Debris Storm

Earlier this morning a South African radio station posted a story about a local family that found a piece of aircraft debris while on vacation in Mozambique in December.

18-year-old Liam Lotter has told East Coast Radio Newswatch while they were on holiday in Inhambane in December – he and his cousin came across what he describes as the “shiny object” while walking on the beach. They brought it back to KwaZulu-Natal. Lotter says it was only after seeing news reports last week about another piece of debris found on a sandbank off Mozambique that his family saw a possible link. Liam’s mother Candace Lotter has since been in contact with South African and Australian authorities.

The story included a couple of pictures:

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UPDATE: On Friday, March 11 Reuters published more photos:

Handout photo of piece of debris found by a South African family off the Mozambique coast, which authorities will examine to see if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

A piece of debris found by a South African family off the Mozambique coast in December 2015, which authorities will examine to see if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, is pictured in this handout photo released to Reuters March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Candace Lotter/Handout via Reuters

Handout photo of piece of debris found by a South African family off the Mozambique coast, which authorities will examine to see if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

A piece of debris found by a South African family off the Mozambique coast in December 2015, which authorities will examine to see if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, is pictured in this handout photo released to Reuters March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Candace Lotter/Handout via Reuters

Here’s an image that provides a sense of scale:

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The code “676EB” in the top photograph refers to an access panel hatch in the right-hand outboard flap of a 777. The images below show the equivalent structures on the left-hand side.

777 wing parts

Fairing.001Given that no other 777 has gone missing at sea, and that the Réunion flaperon has been conclusively identified as coming from the missing flight, then it’s very hard to imagine that this part didn’t come MH370.

Given that after nearly two years only a single piece of debris had heretofore been found, it’s extraordinary that in the span of less than two weeks three pieces of possible MH370 debris have come to light.

First, of course, was the piece found by Blaine Alan Gibson on a Mozambique sand bar in late February:

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Courtesy Blaine Alan Gibson

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courtesy Blaine Alan Gibson. Click to enlarge

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Courtesy Blaine Alan Gibson. Click to enlarge

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Followed a few days later by reports that Johnny Begue, who found the flaperon later linked to MH370 in July of 2015, had found what might be another part of the plane:

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One striking feature of these three latest finds, that many people have commented on, is the striking absence of barnacles, algae, or other forms of sea life. That’s in striking contrast to the flaperon:

inboard end

Some have suggested that the pieces might have been grazed clean by crabs after making landfall, or scoured clean by the action of waves and sand. According to IB Times, one Mozambique official believes that Blaine’s piece probably did not come from MH370 for this reason:

Abreu was also quoted Friday by state news agency AIM, saying that any claim that the debris belonged to the missing Flight MH370 was “premature” and “speculative,” according to All Africa. He also expressed doubts that the debris may not be from the missing Boeing 777 as the object was too clean to have been in the ocean for the past two years. However, he reportedly said that “no aircraft which has overflown Mozambican airspace has reported losing a panel of this nature,” First Post reported, citing AIM.

Hopefully a thorough investigation by the authorities will clarify the issue.

Worth noting that the second Mozambique piece was found 125 miles south of the first one, while both of the Réunion pieces were found on the same beach.