Suspected MH370 flight debris has been found east of Africa on a Mauritian island. Australia will examine the piece to determine whether it is a part of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
A hotel owner on the island who saw the suspected debris said it looked like it was from the inside of a plane, with what he thought was a wallpaper “design,” which if confirmed, would be the first piece of interior debris from the plane yet to be found, according to The Age.
Australia has led the search for the plane, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board. Transport Minister Darren Chester said the debris, found last week, was an “item of interest.”
“The Malaysian government is working with officials from Mauritius to seek to take custody of the debris and arrange for its examination,” Chester said in a statement. He did not say from what part of the missing MH370 flight the debris was suspected to have come. “Until the debris has been examined by experts, it is not possible to ascertain its origin,” he said.
William Auguste, who owns the Mourouk Ebony Hotel on Rodrigues Island, about 350 miles east of the main island of Mauritius, said the wreckage was found by guests.
“For sure it looked like part of an airplane - it looks like it’s from the inside part of it,” Auguste said. He added: “There was wallpaper inside of the plane, you can see this design and part of it is still there.” Auguste said the wreckage was taken to police.
Mauritius is a volcanic island nation in the Indian Ocean that is a bit over 10 times the size of Washington, D.C. The island is known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. It lies about 700 miles east of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean.
Last month, Australia said debris found in Mozambique was “almost certainly from MH370” and in 2015 French authorities said a wing part found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion was part of the plane.
Australia said that more than 95,000 square kilometers of a 120,000 square kilometer target zone had been searched and that the entire zone would be covered by June, when the search is scheduled to end.
Dan O’Malley, a spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said Australian authorities were aware of the debris found, but he expected Malaysian authorities to take the lead in the investigation.