A piece of what appears to be a piece from inside MH370’s cabin has been found on Rodgriques Island in Mauritius. It was found by two residents of Réunion. The picture above was posted to Facebook by Marouk Ebony Hotel. Don Thompson has pointed out that a pattern on the skin of the piece matches Malaysia Airlines cabin material.
At first glance, the piece shares similarities with the two pieces of debris found in Mozambique, which the ATSB has declared as almost certainly having come from MH370, and what appears to be a part of a Rolls-Royce engine cowling found in South Africa: all are roughly the same scale, and bear relatively small quantities of marine fouling. However, a closer look at the new piece shows that it is actually dotted all over with small goose barnacles:
It’s hard to tell from this somewhat out-of-focus photograph, but the barnacles look relatively fresh, suggesting that the piece had not been on the beach very long before it was discovered. (Here’s a hi-res version.) If marine biologists are able to examine the barnacles quickly, they could learn quite a bit about the species makeup and age of the animals; testing the shells for barium and oxygen isotope levels could yield clues about where the piece drifted.
PS Here’s an interesting shot of the Flydubai wreckage. This is what happens to a fuselage after it impacts at several hundred miles per hour. Bears comparison to the Germanwings wreckage, which met a similarly ungentle fate. MH17 debris, which came apart at altitude so that pieces fluttered down, consisted of substantially larger parts. Based on the comments I’ve seen so far, it seems that many people feel that the fact that the interior of the cabin was shredded like this means that the plane could not have ditched. Perhaps even a botched ditching such as Ethiopian Airlines Flight 961 should be considered unlikely.
An interesting observation from Duncan Steel:
Richard’s analysis of the oceanic drift of floating debris from MH370, based on the model available on the Adrift website (to which another tip of the hat is due), has a wide variety of outcomes in terms of general understandings. An important one is this: the probabilities derived for arriving at the various locations in the western Indian Ocean where MH370 debris has been found may be inverted so as to derive an estimate of how many individual fragments were left floating on the ocean after the crash. The answer is: upwards of 10,000. In itself that number indicates that the final demise of MH370 was a highly-energetic crash.
It seems to me that that number might be even greater, if one considers that all the pieces discovered so far (except, perhaps, Blaine’s) were found by tourists who stumbled upon them by accident; presumably only a small subset of the total coast in this region is subject to this kind of serendipity. By way of comparison, 650 pieces of debris were recovered in the course of a fairly exhaustive air and sea-based search for Air France 447.