Newly-discovered wreckage thought to be from flight MH370 suggests the passenger jet crashed into the sea in an uncontrolled high-speed dive, experts have claimed.
Part of a wing spoiler was found in Jeffreys Bay, on the southern coast of South Africa, in August last year, triggering calls for a new search and fresh hopes the mystery will be solved.
Independent experts analysed the piece of wreckage and said damage indicated it was torn off the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 during an uncontrolled dive.
Monday marked the seventh anniversary of the disappearance of the plane, which was turned around while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
It is presumed the jet broke into pieces when it crashed into the Southern Indian Ocean hours later, possibly after running out of fuel.
Experts suspect more wreckage could be found at the bottom of the ocean, 1,200 miles off the coast of Australia.
No official explanation for the plane's disappearance has been given despite an official investigation by Malaysia's government, and it remains one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.
One of the leading theories was a mass murder-suicide by the pilot.
Michael Exner, an expert who analysed photos of the debris found in South Africa, told the devastated families of the missing that the wing spoiler was "almost certainly" from MH370.
Speaking during a virtual remembrance event on Sunday, he said the spoiler's damage is consistent with "separation during descent".
It appears to debunk an alternative theory of a ditching, or water landing, by a rogue pilot.
Grace Nathan, whose mother Anne Daisy Nathan was on board the plane, said the families became aware of the new find last month.
The discovery has renewed calls for a third search of the ocean floor after the two previous results failed to find anything.
Peter Foley, who led the Australian government's search, told the Times he agreed with new research suggesting the wreckage is on the ocean floor, 1,200 miles off Cape Leeuwin, Australia.
The remote area is known for deep canyons and underwater mountains.
The belief that the plane could be there is based on ocean drift analysis and a new potential flight path calculated last year.
Mr Foley said a new search should focus on the seafloor 70 nautical miles on either side of a potential crash site that has been identified.
He added: "Large tracts (of the seafloor) haven't been searched fully."
American lawyer Blaine Gibson, who has been looking for wreckage and analysing debris found on Indian Ocean coastlines, has also backed the third search.
He said new modelling by oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi, from the University of Western Australia, made a strong case for a new search.
Professor Pattiaratchi's previous modelling had predicted where debris would be a year before the first piece was discovered.
In a video message to the families, Malaysia's Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the country is open to holding talks with China and Australia to resume the search.
He repeated the government's position that a new search will not be launched unless there is "credible evidence:.
At least 33 pieces of debris found in Madagascar, Mauritius, South Africa and Tanzania have been confirmed or are thought to be from MH370.
One of the leading theories was Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah hijacked the plane and deliberately crashed it into the ocean in a carefully planned mass murder-suicide plot.
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There was a suspicion that the pilot, who flew a similar path on his flight simulator at home, was clinically depressed.
In July 2018, Malaysia's 495-page official report said the Boeing 777’s controls were likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course, but investigators could not determine who was responsible.
The report also highlighted mistakes made by the Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control centres and issued recommendations to avoid a repeat incident.
Investigators stopped short of offering any conclusions about what happened to MH370, saying that depended on finding the plane’s wreckage.
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