A South African archaeologist has found a piece of debris that seems to be part of an aircraft, which will now be examined to find out whether it belongs to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The piece is embossed with part of a logo, which appears to be that of Rolls-Royce, the manufacturer of the engine of the missing aircraft.

Malaysian transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai said that early reports suggest the debris could be part of an inlet cowling of an aircraft engine. However, it needs to be thoroughly examined, he added.

Meanwhile, South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) said that it was making necessary arrangements to evaluate the part, which, if belonged to an aircraft, will be handed over to Malaysian authorities.

Neels Kruger, the archaeologist who found the piece, told Associated Press that he found it while taking a walk along a lagoon near Mossel Bay, in Western Cape province on the southern coast. He added that being an archaeologist, he usually looks into the ground very keenly in hope of finding something vital. He saw the piece lying on the beach and on closer look, he recognised it as one of the pieces of the missing Malaysian airliner. He flipped it over and noticed parts of a logo that looked like Rolls-Royce.

He clicked pictures of the piece and sent them to a pilot friend, who circulated it among other pilots, who too were convinced that the 70cmx70cm piece was part of an aircraft engine. Kruger then contacted Sacaa and Australian authorities, who are searching for the plane or its remains in the Indian Ocean.

The Beijing-bound MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew members, went missing on 8 March 2014. Neither the plane nor any wreckage has so far been found, except for a piece of one of the wings, which was recovered on the French island of Reunion in July 2015.

Moreover, debris of an aircraft found off the south-east African coast and a metre-long piece of material found by a South African teenager on a beach in Mozambique in December 2015, will also be examined in Australia to ascertain if those belong to the missing flight.