Tuesday 22 January 2019

'High probability' latest debris is from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai addresses the media in Kuala Lumpur (AP)
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai addresses the media in Kuala Lumpur (AP)
Sakinab Shah, the sister of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, holds up her mobile phone with a picture of her brother (AP)

There is a "high probability" debris found in Mozambique is from a Boeing 777, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has said - noting Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is the only missing 777.

Mr Liow said the area where the debris was found matches investigators' predictions of where debris would end up.

He said a Malaysian team with representatives from the country's civil aviation department, Malaysia Airlines and investigators will be heading to Mozambique.

The debris is still in Mozambique and Mr Liow said it is unclear when it will be sent to Australia for examination.

Authorities in Mozambique are helping to comb the area where it was found for other possible debris.

Meanwhile, an American who found the debris said he initially thought it was part of a much smaller plane.

Blaine Gibson, who has been searching the region's beaches for the debris, said a boat operator who took him to a sandbank named Paluma called him over after seeing a piece of debris with "NO STEP" written on it.

Mr Gibson said the discovery happened after he decided to go "somewhere exposed to the ocean" on the last day of a trip to the coastal town of Vilankulo.

Earlier, the family of the senior pilot from MH370 said he must not be made a scapegoat for its disappearance.

The Boeing 777 disappeared from radar on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The family of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah defended the pilot.

"When the search (for the plane) revealed nothing, they came back to this theory, but it's only a theory," said Capt Zaharie's eldest sister Sakinab Shah.

"If you have nothing tangible and nothing by way of evidence, it's tantamount to predicting he is guilty until proven innocent. This sets us back in the Dark Ages."

She said it was "very convenient" to make her brother the scapegoat to absolve the airline from claims or protect the Malaysian government from possible cover-ups and US airline manufacturer Boeing from losing business.

"Please do not judge him based on theories.... don't blame him unless there is evidence. I want to say that (he's) innocent until proven guilty. That is the mantra of modern civilisation," she said.

Press Association

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