Bangkok - Thailand's air force said Sunday it would bring a piece of suspected aircraft debris found on the southeast coast to Bangkok, amid media speculation it may belong to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
The metal panel measuring two metres (6.6 feet) by three metres was found by fishermen on Saturday in Nakhon Si Thammarat province in the Gulf of Thailand.
Thai army aviation experts have already inspected the debris and agreed it was likely to be from an aircraft, although more tests are needed for confirmation.
A specialist team will go to Pak Phanang district on Monday to collect the panel.
"It will be brought to Bangkok for further study as it needs special equipment to investigate what kind of aircraft it came from," Royal Thai Air Force spokesman, Air Vice Marshal Pongsak Semachai, told AFP.
"It does not belong to a Thai air force aircraft," he added.
Thanyarat Phatikongphan, district chief of Pak Phanang, said the piece probably belonged "to an aircraft's nose... because there are electronic wires, insulators on it".
Numbers on the panel should help identification, he added.
A piece of suspected plane wreckage has been found off the coast of southern Thailand, a local official said on Saturday, prompting speculation it might belong to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished nearly two years ago.
A large piece of curved metal washed ashore in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, where villagers reported it to the authorities to help identify it.
Villagers found the wreckage, measuring about 2m wide and 3m long.
Although there was no firm confirmation the piece was part of an aircraft, Thai media swiftly speculated that it may have come from flight MH370.
The Malaysia Airlines plane vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
In July last year a two-metre-long wing part known as a flaperon washed up on a beach on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. The island is several thousand kilometres southwest of Thailand.
Experts traced the wing part to the ill-fated MH370, the first firm evidence that it met a tragic end.
Unlike Reunion, the Gulf of Thailand is not in the path of ocean currents from the remote area of the Indian Ocean where it is believed the plane went down.
Nothing has been found since the Reunion discovery, despite a search which has so far covered more than 80,000 square kilometres (30,888 square miles) of the seabed.
Anger and disbelief from MH370 China relatives over debris
Relatives of passengers who were onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are stopped by policemen as they try to enter the Malaysia Airlines office in Beijing.
Chinese relatives of passengers aboard missing flight MH370 expressed anger and disbelief on Thursday, Aug 6.
Malaysia's prime minister said wreckage found on a French Indian Ocean island was from the plane.
Most of the passengers aboard the flight were Chinese, and around a dozen gathered outside the Beijing offices of Malaysia Airlines, with emotions running high.
"I don't believe this latest information about the plane, they have been lying to us from the beginning," said Zhang Yongli, whose daughter was on board.
"I know my daughter is out there, but they won't tell us the truth," he added.
Bao Lanfang, whose grandson was also on the plane, told reporters, "Everyone has been lying to us", before collapsing on the floor and crying.
The flight, with 239 people on board, vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March last year.
No evidence had been found until the debris, part of a wing known as a flaperon, washed up on the French territory of Reunion.
French officials used more cautious language, saying only that there was a "very high probability" the wreckage came from MH370.
Many Chinese relatives of MH370 passengers have consistently expressed beliefs that their loved ones are alive, perhaps being held at an unknown location.
Their belief comes despite the mounting evidence of a fatal crash.
Several gathering on Thursday held signs with a picture of an aeroplane, reading: "It will surely return safely".
On a social media group other relatives expressed similar sentiments, saying: "Don't believe them! They must have switched the debris! We do believe all our relatives will come back safe and sound!"
Elsewhere Chinese people took to social media sites to express scepticism about Malaysia, whose reputation has taken a knock in China for its handling of the incident.
Malaysia wanted to avoid the large amount of payment for the relatives so it announced that it found the debris in Reunion. We don't believe Malaysia," one comment on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo read.
More debris has been found washed up on Reunion Island, Sky News reported on August 2.
According to Sky News' David Bowden, the object was discovered in a different location to the flaperon which prompted speculation that it was from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
It was earlier reported that the debris resembled a plane door, but the news channel has now said that it can't be confirmed.
Experts confirmed that the flaperon was consistent with that of Boeing 777 although it is not known if it is from the missing jet.
The Transport Ministry said that MH370 investigators would only be able to inspect the flaperon after Monday because Malaysian authorities had to attend a meeting with the French Government before they could actually see the debris.
A view shows the Direction generale de l'armement (DGA) offices, where the France's BEA crash investigation agency will verify the plane debris found on Reunion Island, in Balma near Toulouse, France, July 30, 2015.
Police officers escort an airport vehicle transporting what is believed to be debris from a Boeing 777 plane that washed up on an Indian Ocean island at Saint-Marie's airport on the French Indian Ocean island of "Reunion" on July 31, 2015.
French gendarmes work on a oversized crate, believed to contain plane wreckage, in the cargo area of the airport in Saint-Denis on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, in this still image taken from video shot on July 31, 2015.
A French gendarme (top partially hidden) works on a oversized crate in the cargo area of the airport in Saint-Denis on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 31, 2015.
An aerial view taken on July 31, 2015 in Saint-Andre, on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, shows people walking on the shore where a plane debris and a piece from a luggage were found on July 29.
Johnny Begue, a member of a local shore cleaning association, poses on July 30, 2015 in Saint-Andre, French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, with the remains of a suitcase found the day before on the same site.
He and his fellow association members found a two-metre (six-foot) long piece of plane wreckage that could be from the missing flight MH370.
France's air crash investigation agency is studying a piece of plane debris found on Reunion Island off the east coast of Africa but it was too early to say if it came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
A source familiar with the matter said the debris was most likely from a Boeing 777, but that it was not yet established if it was from MH370.
Malaysia's deputy transport minister said it was "almost certain" that the debris that washed up on Reunion island belongs to a Boeing 777 aircraft.
No trace has been found of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared in March last year carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The disappearance has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
"It is almost certain that the flaperon is from a Boeing 777 aircraft. Our chief investigator here told me this,"Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said.