Man who found MH370 flight part finds new item on Reunion
PARIS (AP) — The man who found a wing fragment of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared nearly two years ago on a beach in the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion has found more mysterious debris, a square-shaped gray item with blue border, in nearly the same spot.
Johny Begue told The Associated Press on Sunday that he found the piece about 5:30 p.m. (1630 GMT) Thursday and turned it into the gendarmerie on Friday morning. A special gendarmerie air brigade in Saint Denis, the capital of Reunion, confirmed it received the item.
Begue found a wing fragment known as a flaperon on July 29 that French investigators identified in September as part of the passenger jet that disappeared with 239 people aboard on March 8, 2014.
Begue said that unlike the flaperon there were no barnacles on the latest item, which he said was square and estimated that it measured 40 by 40 centimeters (about 15.5 by 15.5 inches).
"I was running. After, when I stopped to rest, that's when I found the piece" lying on the stony beach several meters from the water, Begue said by telephone. "The same beach and nearly the same place."
He said the piece he found on the Saint-Andre beach was thinner and smaller than the flaperon, but the material had the same appearance, with a honeycombed interior.
"It looks like the other one, but I don't know if it's part of the plane or not. Experts will say," the 49-year-old Begue said.
The gendarmerie's Territorial Air Brigade confirmed that Begue turned over the piece on Friday morning, but had no further comment.
An official in prefecture, or French state body, Michael Masseaux, said an initial examination of the part would normally be handled by the gendarmerie before deciding whether the piece should be sent to mainland France for further investigation. The French accident investigation bureau spokeswoman, Martine Del bono, said Sunday she hadn't been informed of the find.
The flaperon, which had a serial number, was sent to the French Accident Investigation Bureau's research laboratory near Toulouse where it was positively identified as a part corresponding to the missing Malaysian plane, a Boeing 777.
Begue's latest discovery came just days after an American, Blaine Gibson, found an airplane part in Mozambique, also with a coastline on the Indian Ocean but west of Reunion.