MH370 twist as ‘debris’ washes up on beach seven years after plane went missing

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Debris claimed to belong to doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has washed up on a beach in South Africa seven years after the plane went missing.

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Bejing in China.

All 239 passengers and crew vanished, with what happened to the plane remaining a mystery.

Now a piece of debris approximately 3 feet (1m) long has washed up, and its discoverer says it is most likely a Malaysian 777 as it sports the distinctive light grey colour.

It is currently being held by the South African Civil Aviation Authority in Johannesburg and the Malaysian authorities were notified 10 days ago, reports have said.

According to wreck hunter, Blaine Gibson, the debris was washed ashore in early February in Jeffreys Bay near Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Mr Gibson, a self-styled investigator who has been described as an “Indiana Jones crusader”, is an American investigator who has dedicated the last six years to researching the mystery crash.

A total of 33 pieces of debris – some confirmed and others suspected from MH370 – have been recovered by 16 different people unrelated to each other in six different countries.

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This piece is the 34th according to Mr Gibson, who says its discovery supports the theory that MH370 lies in the southern Indian Ocean.

Mr Gibson said when MH370 first disappeared he went to Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar to look for debris and it was not until after the flaperon was found on Reunion Island in July 2015 that he turned his attention to the southern Indian ocean.

He told Airline Ratings: "I started objectively and ignored all the satellite data as I didn’t really understand it at the time but once the flaperon was found I focused on the southern Indian Ocean.

"Initially on Mauritius, I found nothing as I was about six months too early but then the debris started washing up."

It comes following the news that investigative journalist Florence de Changy has written a book claiming the plane ended up in the Gulf of Thailand off Vietnam after a "jet, missile or a new laser-guided weapon system" brought it down.

But University of Western Australia Professor of Oceanography Charitha Pattiaratchi has rejected the wild claims.

He rubbished rumours of a Beijing cover-up as he revealed where he believes the Malaysia Airlines flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

The academic told Airlineratings.com that the "only tangible physical evidence that is available to date is the debris from the western Indian Ocean".

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