Malaysia has confirmed that a large item of debris (残骸) found off the coast of Tanzania (坦桑尼亚) belongs to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The fragment was recovered in June. The part number and date stamp on it helped investigators trace the origins of the piece. The part manufacturer then recovered build records(生产记录) for those numbers, confirming that they belonged to the missing Boeing 777.
The piece is believed to be a section of an outboard (机舱外的) flap (襟翼) from the plane's right wing. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai (廖中莱) said the piece would be further examined for any evidence that may indicate how the flap was operating when it came apart from the wing. This could help throw light on whether the plane was being flown when it came down to the sea.
According to flight experts, if investigations show the flap was extended when the plane hit the water, it could indicate that the aircraft was being flown by someone at the end. Equally, if the flap wasn't extended, it points more to an accident. Flaps never extend automatically, so their condition can be used to decide whether the crash was a deliberate act or not.
A number of other pieces of debris have been discovered in recent months scattered on coastlines in the Indian Ocean. They include a section of the wing called a flaperon (襟副翼) and a stabilizer (安定面) from the tail. All the debris are believed to have been driven westwards by ocean currents (洋流).
MH370, flying from Kuala Lumpur (吉隆坡) to Beijing, had 239 people on board when it vanished in March 2014. The plane is thought to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.
Australia has been leading the search for the missing aircraft, using underwater drones (无人机) and sonar equipment (声呐装置) sent from specialist ships. The search, also involving Malaysia and China, has led to more than 105,000 square kilometers being combed through so far. However, the countries have agreed that in the absence of "credible new information," the search will end later this year.