MH370: Debris examined as more clues surface

Story highlights

  • New images of outboard wing flap believed to be from the missing Boeing 777 released
  • Authorities: More than 110,000 square kilometers of seabed have been searched so far

(CNN)Investigators meticulously examined a large piece of aircraft debris discovered on Pemba Island off the east coast of Tanzania last month, to determine if it belongs to missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Close-up images believed to be part of the outboard wing flap of the missing Boeing 777, were released by Australian and Malaysian officials on Wednesday.
    At the request of the Malaysian Government, Australia has accepted responsibility for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is leading the underwater search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

    Search for clues

    It has been over two years since Flight MH370 disappeared from radar while en route to Beijing from Malaysia with 239 people on board.
    The arduous search for the Boeing 777 is being spearheaded by Australia, in partnership with officials from Malaysia and China.
    But collaborative search efforts in the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometers off the west coast of Australia, have failed to find any trace of the plane.
    Recent weather disruptions have delayed the projected 120,000 square kilometer search zone until August.
    More than 110,000 square kilometers have been searched so far, according to the Australian government's Joint Action Coordination Center.
    Debris believed to be from the missing aircraft has also washed up on shores in Reunion Island, Mozambique, Mauritius, and South Africa.

    Debris hunter

    On small as well as large scales, the search for the ill-fated flight is intense.
    For example, Blaine Gibson -- an American lawyer -- has been spearheading a self-funded hunt for the missing plane.
    He has searched across the Indian Ocean looking for clues to what has become one of the biggest aviation mysteries ever.
    Earlier this year, Gibson found a piece of plane wreckage off the Mozambique coast. Australian investigators later said it "almost certainly" came from MH370.
    Since then, he has notified Malaysian and Australian authorities of the dozens of pieces of possible plane debris he has found off the east coast of Madagascar -- most recently on the island of Nosy Boraha and Riake Beach.
    In late June, he and locals he worked with found five pieces that surfaced on Antsiraka Beach, off the waters of the northeast coast of Madagascar.
    Gibson claims he found personal effects that could belong to MH370 passengers, and adds he has sent photographs of those effects to MH370 family members and the Aircrash Support Group Australia (ASGA) for possible identification.
    "The items that were handed over includes a stabilizer panel with "No Step" stencil, engine cowling bearing Rolls-Royce logo, fiberglass skin aluminum honeycomb pored panel," the press release said.
    The items he found need to be examined by officials, Gibson said. He has given pieces to Madagascar authorities and is hoping Malaysian authorities also get to examine the debris.

    MH370: Timeline of found parts

    • March
      2016

      1

      Engine Cowling

      Found: Mossel Bay, South Africa

      Status: Almost certainly" from MH370

    • March
      2016

      2

      Main Cabin Interior Panel

      Found: Rodrigues Island, Mauritius

      Status: "Almost certainly" from MH370

    • Feb
      2016

      3

      Horizontal Stabilizer

      Found: Rodrigues Island, Mauritius

      Status: "Almost certainly" from MH370

    • Dec
      2015

      4

      Flap Track Fairing

      Found: Mozambique Beach

      Status: "Almost certainly" from MH370

    • July
      2015

      5

      Flaperon

      Found: Reunion Island

      Status: Confirmed as from MH370

    • March
      2014

      !

      MH370 goes missing

    Updated June 26, 2016