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Officials Investigating Whether Newly Discovered Debris Came from Missing Flight MH370

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Ahmad Yusni/NurPhoto/ZUMA

Debris found on the coast of Southern Thailand is being investigated by both Thai and Malaysian officials to determine whether or not it’s a piece of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, according to CNN.

The large piece of curved metal washed ashore on the Nakhon Si Thammarat province and was reported by villagers but is unlikely to actually be part of the missing Boeing 777, reported Reuters.

Air accident investigators from the Thai Civil Aviation Department will meet at the site with Malaysian aviation investigators on Monday to analyze the debris, Deputy Director General Umphawan Wannago told CNN.

MH370 initially disappeared on March 8, 2014, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, toward Beijing. The airplane, which was carrying 239 crew members and passengers, was intentionally diverted from its flight path before disappearing entirely. Investigators later concluded that the plane ended up in the Indian Ocean and all passengers were killed.

“I urge the media and the public not to speculate because it will give undue pressure to the loved ones of the victims of MH370,” Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said of the newly discovered debris, according to the Associated Press.

The wreckage is covered in algae and barnacles, but panel numbers and hinges are still visible, reported CNN. A Royal Thai air force spokesman told CNN he thinks the metal “looks like a section from a big commercial aircraft.”

To the contrary, Malaysian aviation consultant Gerry Soetjatman said that he felt it was “obvious” that the piece hadn’t come from the missing jet.

In addition, experts said that the location of the debris is “inconsistent with the drift models that appeared when MH370’s flaperon was discovered in Reunion last July,” reported Reuters.

Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor at Flightglobal, an industry publication, added to Reuters that another possible source of the piece could be a space rocket.

The last update in the search for MH370 came last August, when a piece of debris found off the cost of Réunion island, was determined to belong to the jet.