Confirmed! Large airplane flap found in Tanzania matches missing MH370

CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Australian officials on Thursday said a large flap airplane section recovered near the Tanzanian coast belongs to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the piece of debris -- identified as Part No. 5 -- was found on June 20 on the island of Pemba off the coast of Tanzania. A date stamp on the debris showed a manufactured date of Jan. 12, 2002, registered under 9M-MRO -- the Boeing 777 operating as MH370.

"It was confirmed that Part No. 5 was the inboard section of a Boeing 777 right, outboard flap, originating from the Malaysian Airlines aircraft registered 9M-MRO," the ATSB said in its conclusion (click here to read the official statement).

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, after leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia en route to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. The pilots last communicated with air traffic control 38 minutes after takeoff. Three minutes later, the plane's transponders were turned off and the plane disappeared from air traffic controllers' radar screens.

Malaysian authorities concluded the flight had ended in the Indian Ocean, but no confirmed MH370 debris was found until last year when a right wing flaperon was discovered on Reunion Island, east of Madagascar.

The ATSB expects the investigation into the disappearance of MH370 will conclude in November, unless new discoveries are made that could lead to the discovery of the downed craft and its victims.