Strong hope Réunion debris will solve MH370 mystery

Malaysia confirms wreckage sent to France for identification is from Boeing 777 aircraft

Police escort  what could be the first piece of  wreckage recovered from missing flight MH370. Photograph: Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images

Police escort what could be the first piece of wreckage recovered from missing flight MH370. Photograph: Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images

 

Investigators in Toulouse are hoping to unlock the mystery of the disappeared Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as the piece of aircraft wreckage found washed up on a beach in the Indian Ocean island of Réunion is transferred to France for official identification.

The two-metre, barnacle-encrusted chunk of metal debris which emerged from the sea this week has raised hopes of discovering what happened to the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight which disappeared from radars last March, vanishing without trace with 239 people on board.

Search mission

Boeing

The Malaysian government said Malaysia Airlines had confirmed the debris was from a Boeing 777 and that investigators were now “moving close to solving the mystery of MH370”. Deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the debris could be “the convincing evidence that MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean”.

Earlier, Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian transport safety bureau, said if the wing piece did prove to be from a 777, MH370 was the only known possible source.

“We are still working with our French and Malaysian colleagues to analyse all the information so we don’t have certainty yet, but we hope that within the next little while we’ll be able to get to that level of confidence. We’re hoping within the next 24 hours,” he said.

Photographs show the wing component bears the part number “657 BB”, which Mr Abdul Aziz said identified it as coming from a 777.

Definitive confirmation of its origin could, however, only come from Boeing, he said. The aircraft manufacturer had performed modifications to the flaperon that would make it easy to identify.

Australian taskforce

An Australian taskforce spent more than a year combing the submarine depths of the ocean for wreckage. But the first tangible evidence may have washed up thousands of miles west.

Warren Truss, deputy prime minister of Australia, which led the search, said the discovery of the flaperon was “being treated as a major lead”. But he warned it would not solve the mystery of where the plane crashed or point to where other debris might be. – (Guardian service)