Aircraft parts recently washed up on a remote Australian beach, raising hopes the debris could be from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which vanished in 2014 with 239 people aboard.
Mike Elcoate, a fisherman who spotted the wreckage on Monday near Cape Tribulation in northern Queensland, said he initially thought the parts came from a boat’s rudder or possibly a plane’s trim tab, the Mirror reported.
But he then discovered a wing-link structure nearby and posted his findings online in an aircraft maintenance engineering Facebook group.
He said many people contacted him about the possibility that the pieces came from the doomed Boeing 777, which disappeared shortly after taking off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.
Oceanic searches centred on the southern Indian Ocean carried out by Australian and American teams failed to find any sign of the plane on the seabed. They were called off in 2017.
Aircraft debris found on the shore of Mozambique in 2016 matches some theories about where the wreckage from the plane could have ended up. Authorities have predicted that plane debris would eventually drift on currents to the east coast of Africa.
Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed that the “very top levels” of the Malaysian government believed that the captain of MH370 deliberately plunged the aircraft into the ocean in a mass murder-suicide.
Despite the discovery on the Queensland beach this week, aviation researcher Mick Gilbert told The Australian that “the part shows nowhere near enough weathering, has relatively sparse barnacle growth and is almost certainly the wrong colour”.
He added: “If it is indeed an aircraft component it is more likely to be a piece of Air Niugini flight 73 that landed short of the runway at Chuuk International airport in Micronesia in September 2018.”