There has been a “massive breakthrough” in the search for missing flight MH370 – with the unveiling of five new pieces of debris found washed up on a beach.
On Friday, relatives of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 handed over new debris, including a floor panel of a Boeing aircraft, believed to be from the ill-fated plane which mysteriously disappeared four years ago.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of MH370 Steward Patrick Gomes, held up new debris to the cameras as other relatives begged the government to allow search efforts to continue. The family members also demanded a fresh inquiry into the Malaysia Airlines mystery.
V.R. Nathan, whose wife Anne Daisy was on the doomed jet, said the debris consisted of five small plane parts found off Madagascar.
They were turned over to Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Friday at his office in the administrative capital Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur.
“Five new pieces of debris have been recovered off the coast of Madagascar, including one piece that has part of a label still readable,” Mr Nathan said, adding the items were discovered by fishermen.
“We want the government to continue searching for these debris and piece them together like a jigsaw puzzle so that we can get some clue as to what happened to the plane.” His daughter Grace told reporters the items were found between December 2016 and August 2018, adding that “this … offers a fresh ray of hope to all the relatives.”
Grace described the latest discoveries as a “massive breakthrough”.
“The fact that debris is still washing up now means that the investigation should still be live,” she said.
“It shouldn’t be closed.”
Mr Loke, who met the next of kin, said the government would consider resuming a search if provided with credible leads.
He said: “We are open to proposals, but we must have some credible leads before we decide.”
More than 30 bits of aircraft debris have been collected from various places around the world but only three wing fragments that washed up along the Indian Ocean west coast have been confirmed to be from MH370. One of the washed up pieces confirmed to be from MH370 included a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.
The Boeing 777 jet with 239 people on board vanished on March 8, 2014 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur in the world’s greatest aviation mystery.
An official report released in July following a lengthy investigation and a long-running fruitless $144.80 million search gave no new clues about why the plane disappeared, sparking anger among relatives.
Malaysia’s new government, which took power in May, has said the search could be resumed but only if new and compelling evidencecomes to light.
Mr Loke said the government will “immediately verify the items” ranging from almost 60 centimetres (two feet) in length to palm-sized.
“We will need some credible leads before we reopen the search,” he told reporters.
T. Mohan, one of the experts who took part in the investigation, told AFP that one of the items “is a floor panel of a Boeing aircraft.” The disappearance of MH370 triggered the largest hunt in aviation history. However searchers scouring a 120,000-square kilometre area of Indian Ocean have failed to locate the missing plane.
An Australian-led hunt was suspended in January last year.
US exploration firm Ocean Infinity resumed the search in a different location at the start of this year on a “no find, no fee” basis, using high-tech drones to scour the seabed.
But that search was also called off within months after failing to find anything.
This week mathematician Mike Chillit claimed to have determined the crash location to be further north in the Indian Ocean than originally believed.
Earlier this month a plane crash hunter pieced together satellite image “clues” he believes show the wreckage of missing jet MH370 in the heart of the Cambodian jungle.
Another recent theory is ‘hackers’ could have ‘unlocked cockpit door and suffocated everyone to hijack missing Malaysian Airlines plane’ according to aviation expert Jeff Wise.
There have been many theories surrounding the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 including ones that blame Vladimir Putin and North Korea.
Some theorists believe the pilot, Captain Zaharie Amhad Shah, planned the incident.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly said it was “very likely that the captain planned this shocking event”.
He claimed the pilot wanted to “create the world’s greatest mystery”.
– With AFP
Originally published as MH370 ‘massive breakthrough’