Suspected piece of missing MH370 plane found by South African teen to be sent to Australia

A piece of debris found by a South African family off the Mozambique coast in December 2015, which the authorities will examine to see if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, is pictured in this handout photo released to Reuters on Marc
A piece of debris found by a South African family off the Mozambique coast in December 2015, which the authorities will examine to see if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, is pictured in this handout photo released to Reuters on March 11, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters/AFP) - A South African teenager has found debris which will be sent to Australia for testing as part of the investigation into the disappearance of a Malaysian Airlines plane two years ago, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said on Friday (March 11).

Liam Lotter, 18, told South Africa's East Coast radio he found the piece of debris on a beach in Mozambique while on holiday in December and his family took it back to their home in South Africa.

He said that after a suspected part of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was found in Mozambique last week his family made the connection with his find.

That white, metre-long chunk of metal is being tested by officials in Australia, with help from Malaysian authorities and representatives of manufacturer Boeing Co.

South African authorities plan to hand over the debris found by Lotter to the same Australian team.

"We are arranging for collection of the part, which will then be sent to Australia as they are the ones appointed by Malaysia to identify parts found," SACAA spokesman Kabelo Ledwaba told Reuters.

Transportation authorities in Canberra confirmed on Saturday that the South African, Malaysian and Australian governments were working to bring the material to Australia.

"The family have contacted the Australian Transport Safety Bureau," a spokesman from the ATSB told AFP. "They have provided us with photographs which are being reviewed."

He said the debris would be examined by investigators from Australia and Malaysia and specialists from Boeing.

Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 passengers and crew on board, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. It is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.

A piece of the plane's wing was washed up on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion in July 2015.