PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK/BLOOMBERG/REUTERS) - An object believed to have come from inside the cabin of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 has been found in an island in Mauritius, east of Africa, according to a report.
MH370 Independent Group (IG) expert Don Thompson told news.com.au. that he saw photographs of the part and said it appeared to match the bulkhead of an MAS Boeing 777 business-class cabin.
He said it was not, however, limited to that section of a Boeing 777 and could also have come from economy class.
Another IG member Mike Exner agreed with the assessment.
It was reported that the group had passed the information to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
If confirmed to be from MH370, the fragment would be the first possible internal part to have been found.
A spokesman for the Australian transport safety investigator said that Australia had been alerted to the suspected debris, adding that the authorities in Kuala Lumpur would lead the response.
“Yes we’re aware, we’ve been alerted to the finding on Rodrigues Island in Mauritius,” Mr Dan O’Malley of the ATSB said on Sunday (April 3). “But because this is a Malaysian investigation, they’re in charge of coordinating other nations’ input, so Malaysia is in contact with Mauritius and they’ll be working out how best to proceed.”
“The Malaysian government is working with officials from Mauritius to seek to take custody of the debris and arrange for its examination,” Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester said on Sunday.
“This debris is an item of interest, however, until the debris has been examined by experts, it is not possible to ascertain its origin.”
However, it remains unclear which country would examine the debris.
The wreckage was reportedly found by a couple, who were holidaying on Rodrigues Island and were guests at the Mourouk Ebony Hotel, as they were walking along the beach on Thursday (March 31).
A hotel owner on the island who saw the debris said it looked like it was from the inside of a plane, with what he thought was a wallpaper “design”.
Mr William Auguste, who owns the Mourouk Ebony Hotel on Rodrigues Island, about 560km east of the main island of Mauritius, said the wreckage was found by guests.
“For sure it looked like part of an aeroplane – it looks like it’s from the inside part of it,” Mr Auguste said. “...there was wallpaper inside of the plane, you can see this design and part of it is still there.”
He said the wreckage was taken to police.
Rodrigues Island is a small volcanic island in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius lies about 1,127km east of Madagascar.
An MH370 flaperon was found in Reunion Island in July last year.
It was reported that another piece of plane debris, suspected to be from the missing plane, had been found in Mozambique.
It is the third item found in the country since last month, following the discovery of two plane debris - a piece of skin from a horizontal stabiliser and a white chunk of metal.
The two debris, which had been sent to Australia for analysis, were found to be "almost certainly from MH370".
Another fragment picked up near Mossel Bay, a small town in Western Cape province in South Africa, would also be analysed to see if it came from MH370, South African officials said last month.
Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Its journey is believed to have ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Vessels looking for the jet are due to finish scouring 120,000 sq km of the southern Indian Ocean by the middle of the year. The authorities still have little idea what took place in the cockpit or why the plane flew off course.