Aircraft Part Found On Australian Beach Unlikely To Be From MH370

A fresh wave of speculation was ignited last week regarding the six-year-old mystery of a lost Malaysian Airlines 777. A piece of unidentified vehicle wreckage washed up on the shores of Australia’s Far North Queensland region, and photos of the part were subsequently posted to Facebook, drawing a large amount of public interest. However, some subject matter experts doubt that the piece could be from the missing aircraft.

Flight MH370, operating service from Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Beijing (China), was a Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8th, 2014. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons.

The recent discovery

According to various media sources, Australian resident Mick Elcoate was fishing on a remote beach seven kilometers (4.3 miles) north of Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland when he found some wreckage that had washed ashore on Monday, October 5th.

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A post from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia is shown below, raising the profile and awareness of the discovery.

HAS ANOTHER PIECE OF THE MH370 PUZZLE WASHED ASHORE?Reported today on Facebook, a mysterious component that appears…

Posted by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Australia on Monday, 5 October 2020

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Elcoate, an avionics technician, described his reaction to the discovery:

“My initial thoughts were that it was either part of a yacht’s rudder, or possibly a trim tab from an aircraft.”

Elcoate took photos of the mysterious part, sharing it with an Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Facebook group, asking for help identifying it.

‘That’s when several people started contacting me,’ Elcoate recalls, with some raising the possibility that the part came from the missing Boeing 777 that was MH370. The flight disappeared in 2014, leaving victims’ families, the airline, and the world without proper closure as to what happened to the aircraft and everyone onboard.

Malaysia Airlines Flight Vanishes
In Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, officials are photographed answering questions during the press conference on the fourth day of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, MH370. Malaysia. Photo: Getty Images

Doubt and uncertainty over the MH370 connection

Having disappeared in March 2014, a massive multi-national search was launched to find the aircraft. Unfortunately, not much of the Boeing 777 was found, and all 239 people on board are presumed dead, despite no bodies ever being recovered.

In June of 2015, the aircraft’s flaperon was found on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, and was the first piece of the plane to be recovered. Since then, the Daily Mail reports that 27 pieces have been found. Some believe the incident to be a murder-suicide.

HMAS Success and a US Navy helicopter photographed during one of the searches for MH370. Photo: Getty Images

Mick Gilbert, an aviation researcher, told The Australian that he did not think the part belonged to MH370, saying ‘The part shows nowhere near enough weathering, has relatively sparse barnacle growth and is almost certainly the wrong color…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 back in September 2018.” 

Air Niugini flight 73 was a Boeing 737. Landing short of the runway, the aircraft ended up in a lagoon. Forty-six people survived, but six of them were injured, and one died from drowning.

Where do you think this particular part came from? Is it from an aircraft or something else? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.