Malaysian government: Debris found in Thailand not from MH370

Story highlights

  • Malaysian officials confirm metal paneling found on Friday not from missing passenger jet
  • No sign of the plane since wreckage was found on Reunion Island last year

(CNN)Debris found in Thailand last week is not from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials said Tuesday.

A large piece of curved metal paneling was found on Friday by a fisherman on the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat province, leading many to speculate that it might be further evidence of the passenger jet that disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.
"From seeing the pictures in local news, this is definitely not a piece from military aircraft, but it looks like a section from a big commercial aircraft in my personal opinion," Royal Thai air force spokesman Pongsak Semachai told CNN on Sunday.
However, after inspecting the debris in conjunction with Thai officials, Malaysian investigators said that the metal does not belong to a B777 9M-MRO aircraft and so could not be connected to MH370.

No repeat of Reunion

In September, French investigators confirmed that aircraft debris found on Reunion Island in July was from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
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However, despite global excitement that the mystery of the plane might finally be solved, little has come from the discovery and the search continues.
Earlier this month, searchers uncovered a shipwreck from the 1800s, the second such discovery made by boats scanning the relatively unknown depths of the Indian Ocean.
In the southern Indian Ocean, where the search is being focused, around 80,000 square kilometers (nearly 31,000 square miles) of ocean floor have currently been searched, with another 40,000 square kilometers far off the west coast of Australia still to go. At present, no sign of the missing plane has been found.
The "towfish" underwater sonar rig that the search crews were using to scan the seabed was recently lost after striking an underwater volcano in the southern Indian Ocean.

So what was the Thai debris?

Malaysian aviation consultant Gerry Soetjatman told CNN on Sunday that the debris was almost certainly not from a plane.
"It is obvious to me that it isn't a plane or MH370, but it's too early to tell what it is yet," he said.
Soetjatman said the raised rivets seen on the debris are "much more typical of what you find on a rocket." For example, he said, Japan has launched rockets in the past two years that could be the source of the debris.