SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia said that a piece of suspected aeroplane debris found east of Africa on a Mauritian island will be examined to see if it is part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing two years ago in one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
A hotel owner on the island who saw the debris said it looked like it was from the inside of a plane, with what he thought was a wallpaper “design”, which if confirmed, would be the first piece of interior debris from the plane yet to be found.
Australia has led the search for the plane, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board on a flight from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to Beijing, and Transport Minister Darren Chester said the debris, found last week, was an “item of interest”.
“The Malaysian government is working with officials from Mauritius to seek to take custody of the debris and arrange for its examination,” Chester said in a statement.
He did not say from what part of the missing Boeing 777 the debris was suspected to have come.
“...Until the debris has been examined by experts, it is not possible to ascertain its origin.”
The Malaysian government could not be immediately reached for comment.
William Auguste, who owns the Mourouk Ebony Hotel on Rodrigues Island, about 560 km (350 miles) east of the main island of Mauritius, said the wreckage was found by guests.
“For sure it looked like part of an aeroplane - it looks like it’s from the inside part of it,” Auguste said. “...there was wallpaper inside of the plane, you can see this design and part of it is still there.”
Auguste said the wreckage was taken to police.
Last month, Australia said debris found in Mozambique was “almost certainly from MH370” and in 2015 French authorities said a wing part found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion was part of the plane.
Australia said that more than 95,000 square kilometers of a 120,000 square kilometer target zone had been searched and that the entire zone would be covered by June, when the search is scheduled to end.
Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Nick Macfie