Three newly found pieces of debris are “of interest” in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australia’s transport minister says.
Darren Chester said two of the fragments were found in Mauritius, with another in Mozambique.
They are expected to be brought to Australia to be examined by experts.
“The Malaysian government is yet to take custody of the items, however, as with previous items, officials are arranging collection,” he said.
The plane, carrying 239 passengers and crew, was flying from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in China when it disappeared in March 2014.
Five other fragments were previously found and confirmed as being definitely or probably from the Boeing 777, which is presumed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
All were found thousands of miles from the search zone, though within the area models of ocean currents have indicated debris could wash up.
1. A section of wing called a flaperon, found on Reunion Island in July 2015 – confirmed as debris in September 2015
2. Horizontal stabilizer from tail section, found in Mozambique in December 2015
3. Stabilizer panel with “No Step” stencil, found in Mozambique in February 2016
4. Engine cowling bearing Rolls-Royce logo, found in March 2016 in Mossel Bay, South Africa
5. Fragment of interior door panel found in Rodrigues Island, Mauritius in March 2016
Absence of ‘new information’
Australia has been leading the search for the missing aircraft, using underwater drones and sonar equipment deployed from specialist ships.
The search, also involving Malaysia and China, has seen more than 105,000 sq km (65,000 sq miles) of the 120,000 sq km search zone scoured so far.
All the debris is being examined in Australia by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and other experts.
But countries have agreed that in the absence of “credible new information” the search is expected to end by July or August this year.
“We’ve covered a fairly significant proportion of our total search area without finding the aircraft so we have to start considering the alternatives,” Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the ATSB, has said.
“But we’ve still got 15,000 sq km to go, which is a big chunk. So it’s not as though we’ve given up.”