A wing part of an aircraft washed ashore the island of Mauritius in May this year was confirmed by the Australian experts that it belonged to the ill-fated missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said on Friday confirming the investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). He said the Bureau was able to identify the wing part of an airplane as a trailing edge splice strap from a Boeing 777’s left outboard flap. Liow reiterated that the conclusion was authentic and was made based on a part number found on a section of the debris.
“Next to the part number was a second part identifier. The flap manufacturer supplied records indicating that this work order number was incorporated into the outboard flap shipset line number 404. This corresponds to the Boeing 777 aircraft line number 404, registered as 9M-MRO (MH370),” he said in a statement.
Malaysia Airlines suffered a loss of $350 million for the search operations while it was given $110 million from insurers in March 2014 to cover initial payments to passengers’ families. The controversy was over conflicting versions given out initially by the Malaysian government about the flight MH370.
Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, initially said air traffic control was in contact with the aircraft two hours into the flight, when in fact the last contact with air traffic control was less than an hour after takeoff. Even their claim that four passengers used stolen passports to board the aircraft was later changed to two: one Italian and one Austrian.
Later, Malaysia abruptly widened the search area to the west a day later, indicating military radar that had detected the aircraft turning back towards the Indian Ocean. Malaysian authorities probed pilot Zaharie and co-pilot Fariq homes and found a flight simulator belonging to Zaharie.
Later, Malaysia’s acting transport minister contradicted the prime minister’s account on the timing of the final data and communications received. Najib Razak had said that the ACARS system was switched off at 01:07. On 17 March, Malaysian officials said that the system was switched off sometime between 01:07, time of the last ACARS transmission, and 01:37, time of the next expected transmission.
For three days the airlines maintained that the missing flight did not carry anything hazardous and later CEO Ahmad said that potentially dangerous lithium batteries were on board, which could have triggered fire or blast of the aircraft.
Malaysian Missing airlines Flight 370’s disappearance has ignited world’s first major and prolonged search for the debris and forced the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to adopt new standards for aircraft position reporting over open ocean, extended recording time for cockpit voice recorders, and, from 2020, will require new aircraft designs to have a means to recover the flight recorders, or the information they contain, before the recorders sink below water.
The Flight 370 was the deadliest aviation incident in the history of Malaysia Airlines, surpassing the 1977 hijacking and crash of Malaysian Airline System Flight 653 that killed all 100 passengers and crew on board, and the deadliest involving a Boeing 777, surpassing Asiana Airlines Flight 214 with 3 fatalities.