The McQuade discovery as tweeted by Mike Exner
The McQuade discovery as tweeted by Mike Exner

The volume of discoveries of possible fragments of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 keeps rising in the SW corner of the Indian Ocean but with few exceptions, good quality images of the recently claimed finds have yet to emerge.

One of those exceptions is the photo shown above of a likely piece of the Boeing 777-200ER, which was found on a Mozambique shore last Friday August 19, by Barry McQuade, of Durban in South Africa.

The image has been tweeted by Mike Exner, a member of the Independent Group of qualified experts who have been analysing information about the flight that disappeared on March 8, 2014.

You will find Mr Exner on Twitter @Airlandseaman and the papers published by him and his colleagues in the IG are strongly recommended reading on Duncan Steel’s IG archive site.

In his tweets Mr Exner refers to advice that contrary to the caption provided on McMcQuade’s photo, this might not be part of a control surface but more likely of an engine pylon.

MH370 had 239 people on board when it mysteriously vanished from air traffic control transponder managed visibility on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The sea floor search for the sunk wreckage of MH370 in a priority zone SW of Western Australia is being managed by the ATSB, while the investigation of the disappearance is being done by Malaysia.

However at the invitation of Malaysia some possible and some proven fragments of the missing jet have been investigated by the ATSB in conjunction with experts from Boeing.

The largest object currently under examination in Australia is a section of the right hand wing of the jet, although formal identification has not yet been declared.

In interviews published abroad the ATSB has said that pending conformation, the flap attached to the wing section in question appears to have hit the water with its flap retracted.

The ATSB has not commented further on the accuracy of those stories, but in the absence of issuing one of its always restrained ‘correcting the record’ statements, those reports are by default correct.

The ATSB has in those reports also indicated that it has drawn up plans for a new phase in the search for MH370 (subject to tripartite agreement) which could include the releasing of dummy flaperon components in the sea floor search area next March to track them for insights into the applicability of drift analysis in attempting to refine the location of the sunk wreckage.

That is unless there is a discovery of the wreckage in the remaining less than 10,000 square kilometres of sea floor that is yet to be sonar scanned in the priority zone. As well as eliminating some earlier ‘contacts’ of interest that may have been from wreckage, as well as sections of the sea floor that were too deep or complex yield up any sign of wreckage for the equipment that first looked into those depths.

The current search zone is expected to be exhausted in coming months if bad weather sea states subside for long enough.

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