Liam Lotter with a piece of debris that has been confirmed to be from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Picture: Bongani Mbatha
Liam Lotter with a piece of debris that has been confirmed to be from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Picture: Bongani Mbatha

Debris confirmed from flight MH370

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Apr 24, 2016

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Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal teenager who found a part of the Boeing 777, flight MH370 while on holiday in Mozambique, is thrilled his piece has confirmed to have been from the plane that went missing in March 2014.

In a technical examination report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau this week, the findings revealed that the two parts were “almost certainly from the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft”.

The report stated that part one, found by Liam Lotter of Wartburg, had been identified, by a number stencilled 676EB, as a segment from a Boeing 777 flap track fairing (fairing no 7) from the right wing.

It stated, “All measurable dimensions, materials, construction and other identifiable features conformed to the applicable Boeing drawings for the identified fairing.

“The 676EB stencil font and colour was not original from manufacture, but instead conformed to that developed and used by MAB during painting operations. The part had been repainted, which was consistent with MAB maintenance records for 9M-MRO.”

The second part, found by Blaine Gibson, was identified from images showing the materials, construction and “No step” stencil as a segment of a Boeing 777 horizontal stabiliser panel.

“The font and location of the stencil were not original from manufacture. However, the stencilling was consistent with that developed and used by Malaysian Airlines.

“A single fastener was retained in the part. The fastener head markings identified it as being correct for use on the stabiliser panel assembly,” the report read.

Lotter and Gibson are over the moon. Lotter said on Saturday: “I feel happy that I have contributed towards solving the mystery and I am thankful for following my instinct on the beach in Mozambique that afternoon in December. I hope these contributions will bring closure to Malaysian families and to all those who lost family,” he said.

Gibson said the confirmation demonstrated how citizens could make a difference in solving this mystery, and help give the families of those on board some closure.

“I hope this will inspire people to comb the beaches and shorelines and report discoveries to authorities.

‘No step’ and 676EB are two small pieces of a large puzzle that provide clues to finding out what happened. We await the determination of the expert scientists and investigators,” he said.

Gibson said investigations needed to shed light on what had happened to the 239 people that were on the flight to Beijing.

A third piece of debris, known as a flaperon, found on Reunion Islands in July, was confirmed to be from the missing airline.

This week spear fisherman David Gruler spotted a navy blue and aluminium panel believed to be debris from the missing plane. Gruler told a lifeguard on duty who alerted the authorities.

The Durban Search and Rescue Unit searched the uMhlanga beach on Thursday in the hope of finding it. No debris was found.

According to sources, the debris may be part of a light aircraft that crashed on Virginia Beach last month.

KZN SAPS spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said they didn’t know if it had been washed away or a false sighting.

However, he said they would continue to monitor the area and people should contact the police should they spot it or have any additional information. - Additional reporting by Terry van der Walt.

Sunday Tribune

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