Malaysia confirms plane debris part of MH 370; legal consequences widen

Establishment of the circumstances of MH 370s loss is more of a matter of legal consequences than closure to families.

Search for flight MH370
A woman whose relative was aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 holds placard after police stopped protesting relatives from entering a road leading to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing August 7, 2015.

The plane debris recovered from Mauritius earlier this year is part of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Malaysia's Transport Ministry confirmed on Friday.

More than two-and-a-half years after the plane's mysterious disappearance, the establishment of the circumstances of its loss is more of a matter of legal consequences than closure to families.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said investigators identified the debris that washed up on the Indian Ocean island from a part number on it.

"From a part number found on a section of the debris, the piece has been identified as a trailing edge splice strap, incorporated into the rear spar assembly of a Boeing 777 left outboard flap," Liow said in a statement, Channel News Asia reported.

Experts at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau have been working on the piece of wing flap that was found in May.

"Adjacent to the part number was a second part identifier. The flap manufacturer supplied records indicating that this work order number was incorporated into the outboard flap shipset line number 404. This corresponds to the Boeing 777 aircraft line number 404, registered as 9M-MRO (MH370)."

Earlier, in March, Australia said that the plane debris found near Mozambique coast was highly likely to be part of the wrecked Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The plane disappeared with 239 passengers and crew while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

In January last year, Malaysia declared Flight MH370 was lost in an accident and that all on board were presumed dead.

Meanwhile, the airline's lawyers are meeting two Australian families that lost members in the MH370 tragedy on Friday in order to explore possibilities of a settlement.

As many as six children demand more than AD210,000 per passenger from the airline, accusing it of negligence, under the terms of the Montreal Convention, Free Malaysia Today website reported.

Negligence charge

Families of people missing with MH 370 are waging legal battles in various parts of the world. In Australia, the children of Rodney and Mary Burrows and Bob and Cathy Lawton argue that the airline made them wait two years before it agreed to a counseling session.

In the US, cases have been filed on behalf of 44 passengers while there are also cases in China.

The US lawsuit alleges that the airline failed to "safeguard pilots, crew and passengers from dangerous cargo such as 2453 kg of lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold".

The outcome of some of the lawsuits depends a lot on the eventual conclusion on where the plane crashed. The report says that if the plane is found in the southern Indian Ocean, and if it's proved that passengers died on the high seas, it could expose the airline to further claims of damages.