PETALING JAYA: A South African aviation forum, Avcom, posted pictures of what could be more parts from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last Friday.
A posting on the Avcom forum for enthusiasts of aircrafts and flying activities in general, with the topic name, “Aircraft parts wash up on local beach – Transkei”, refers to a beach area just outside the town of East London along the lower east coast area of South Africa.
The original posting, on Jan 27 at 10.20am local time (4.20pm Malaysian time), by a forum member named Steve Onions said: “This morning, a local person found some items that washed up on a beach on the Transkei coast near East London that looked like they could be from an aircraft. They sent the cell phone pics taken of these parts to one of our local aviators and the pics have been sent to our local ATC who will circulate them and notify the relevant authorities.”
According to some forum members, the barnacle-encrusted part looks like it could be a “wing to body fairing or flap track canoe fairing”.
The part is thought to be from the trailing edge structure of the wing of a large commercial airliner, like a Boeing 747 or B777.
Aside from a photo of the part that was found, from four separate angles, the forum also showed comparative photos of the intact trailing wing area on a Boeing 777.
The forum was also contacted by a Malaysian official with the transport ministry’s Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) on Saturday.
Aslam Basha Khan, who is a senior investigator with the AAIB, told FMT that he had advised the forum members on how to handle such a part and to contact the local civil aviation authority (CAA) in South Africa.
“The part was found in a remote location and we were not able to get in touch directly with the person who is said to have found it. Through the forum, we contacted a friend of the said person, and have given the contact details to the South African CAA for further action.
“AAIB will not be sending anyone to South Africa as yet, as it is still too premature in the course of this discovery,” Aslam said, adding that AAIB are in constant contact with the South African CAA and similar authorities around the world, for matters such as this.
If the part is indeed from the missing Boeing 777, then it would be the second part found on the coast of South Africa. On March 21 last year, an engine cowling segment with part of the name “Rolls Royce” showing was found on Mossel Bay.
Previous parts, positively identified or most likely to be that of the ill-fated MAS aircraft, have been found off the coast of Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius and Zanzibar since July 2015.
On March 8, 2014, MAS flight MH370 left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing, China, with 227 passengers and 12 flight and cabin crew.
However all communication was lost with MH370 somewhere over the South China Sea.
Later it was learned that the plane had made a sudden turnaround, flying back over the northern part of Peninsula Malaysia before heading south towards the Indian Ocean.
It is thought to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean, about 2,000km west of Perth, in Western Australia.
The search for the missing aircraft officially came to a halt two weeks ago after three years of a fruitless search across a 120,000-sq-km underwater search zone in the southern Indian Ocean.