A piece of suspected plane wreckage found off the east coast of southern Thailand on Saturday was unlikely to belong to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished nearly two years ago, said aviation experts and Thai officials.
A large piece of curved metal washed ashore in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Tanyapat Patthikongpan, head of Pak Phanang district, told Reuters. Villagers reported it to authorities for identification, he said.
"Villagers found the wreckage, measuring about 2 metres wide and 3 metres long (6.6 by 9.8 feet)," he said.
The find fuelled speculation in the Thai media that the debris could belong to MH370, which disappeared with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014. A piece of the plane washed up on the French island of Reunion in July 2015 but no further trace has been found.
Experts said that while powerful currents sweeping the Indian Ocean could deposit debris thousands of kilometres away, wreckage was extremely unlikely to have drifted across the equator into the northern hemisphere.
The location of the debris in Thailand "would appear to be inconsistent with the drift models that appeared when MH370's flaperon was discovered in Reunion last July," said Greg Waldron, Asia Managing Editor at Flightglobal, an industry publication.
"The markings, engineering, and tooling apparent in this debris strongly suggest that it is aerospace related," said Waldron. "It will need to be carefully examined, however, to determine it's exact origin."