Two pieces of wreckage that could be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have been treated and are being analysed at Canberra’s Geoscience Australia facility, while a third piece of potential wreckage may be on the way shortly, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says.
The ATSB said in an operational update on Wednesday two pieces of debris that were found in Mozambique arrived in Canberra on March 20 and have been released from quarantine after they were throughly cleaned and had all visible signs of contamination removed.
The parts are being x-rayed and analysed to determine if they are from the Boeing 777-200ER, 9M-MRO, that operated MH370, which disappeared enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 2014 with 239 people on board.
“A statement on the findings will be made once the examination process is complete,” the ATSB said.
The ATSB said the “procedures appropriate to maintain the integrity of this potential evidence have been followed”.
Meanwhile, a third piece of potential debris from MH370 found in South Africa was suspected to be the cowling from an engine. The ATSB said the Malaysian government was working with officials in South Africa to arrange for the examination of the piece.
Malaysian Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai said on March 20 the country was “wholly and unwaveringly committed to the search for MH370”.
In September 2015, a wing flaperon that washed up on the shores of Reunion Island was found to have come from the missing aircraft.
The ATSB said the search for the aircraft off the coast of Perth in the Indian Ocean had so far covered 95,000 square kilometres, with the full 120,000 square kilometre search are due to be completed by the middle of 2016.
“Weather may continue to impact on search operations but generally, more favourable conditions are being experienced,” the ATSB said.
The search effort did suffer a setback when one of the search vessels lost its sonar and had to return to port.
The ATSB said recovery options were currently being assessed.
“Dong Hai Jiu 101 is en route to Fremantle after an incident on the evening of 21 March in which the failure of a tow cable connector resulted in the loss of the SLH-ProSAS-60 towfish,” the ATSB said.