A piece of debris found washed ashore in the Maldives and now thought to be wreckage from Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 was thrown out in as garbage late May. The Maldivian police were only able to recover a fraction of the metal piece.
The three-foot long object was found in late May washed on shore at the Banyan Tree resort on Vabbinfaru Island, north west of capital Malé. Resort staff took pictures of the object before transporting it to a landfill on May 30.
It gained attention when one staff posted the debris pictures on Facebook, shortly after Malaysian authorities on August 5 confirmed that unidentified objects found on French Reunion Island in the south Indian Ocean was part of the MH370’s flaperon.
Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi, Malaysia’s deputy minister of transport, told Bernama.com last night: “we think the parts which were found about a month ago were parts of the aircraft.”
“They have to be further analysed and will be brought back to Malaysia for verification,” he added.
A team of Malaysian aviation experts arrived in the Maldives last night.
MH370 disappeared with 293 passengers and crew on March 8, 2014. It was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
Speaking to Maldives Independent, Banyan Tree’s Deputy Manager Mohamed Naeem said police had failed to recover the debris from the dump on Thilafushi Island. However, a four-inch metal piece of the debris was discovered on the resort.
“That piece may have been torn when it was loaded in to the boat which carried it to Thilafushi. But we really don’t know,” he said.
Police confirmed a piece had been found, but declined to comment further.
Meanwhile, three other islands in the Maldives last week reported finding large rectangular objects made of Styrofoam washed up on the beach. The police have stored the debris in a warehouse in Malé for inspection.
A captain of barge that sank in north central Maldives in last February told newspaper Haveeru that the debris discovered last week were wall panels. “The debris has smudges of paint that was in the barge. I am confident that they are items from the barge,” he said.
Meanwhile, coastal oceanography expert Professor Charitha Pattiaratchy from the University of Western Australia told News.com.au that “it would be a big conundrum to see stuff in Reunion as well as Maldives”.
He suggested that it was impossible to have debris washing up on both side of the equator.
“If the debris originated from where we’re talking about in the southern hemisphere, none of it actually goes northwards. It can’t cross the hemispheres because of the wind and the current patterns,” he said.
On March 8, 2014, the same day MH370 disappeared, locals of Dhaalu atoll Kudahuvadhoo reported spotting a low-flying plane with similar colours to that of the missing flight.
However, the Maldivian authorities said that the rumoured sightings of Malaysian flight MH370 over Kudahuvadhoo were false.
President’s office minister Mohamed “Mundhu” Shareef told The AFP that defence radar and surveillance data check showed no unidentified vessel had entered Maldives.