LANGKAWI, Jan 25 – There is no confirmation yet that a suspected aircraft wreckage found off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand, belongs to Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370. However, following the find, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has asked the Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman to contact the Thai authorities for more information and confirmation.
“At the moment, it is mere speculation as we have not received any confirmation from Thailand. Meanwhile, I also would like to urged the public not to speculate on matters involving MH370 as it would cause distress to the victims’ next of kin,” he said when met at the Langkawi International Airport, here, Sunday.
Based on news reports, the big, curved metal part, suspected to be from a plane, was found off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat province in southern Thailand, after which the villagers lodged a report with the relevant Thai authority. Flight MH370 went missing from the radar screens on March 8, 2014 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.
The Boeing 777 plane has yet to be found even after a massive search operation in the southern Indian Ocean, where flight MH370 is believed to have ended after veering from its original route. Liow said the search for MH370 was still focused on the southern Indian Ocean based on the suggestion of the experts.
“We had found a wreckage on Reunion Island. We believe in the experts’ suggestion. We are conducting the search within 60,000 square km under the second phase. The first phase also covering 60,000 square km had been completed, but we did not find anything. Hopefully, we can complete the second phase in a few months’ time. Our focus is on the wreckage that we had found,” he said.
On July 29, 2015, a flaperon was found on La Reunion, a small French-owned island in the Indian Ocean, and sent to France for further analysis. On Aug 6, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak confirmed that the flaperon found on the island belonged to Malaysia Airlines, flight MH370. Earlier, Liow had attended a ceremony to welcome the arrival of AirAsia’s first flight from Guangzhou, China to Langkawi, which was officiated by the prime minister.