Plane part tested for MH370 link

Posted by Warren Fyfe on July 30, 2015 in Warren Fyfe Site

French officials are investigating whether a plane part that washed up on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion is from missing flight MH370.

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board vanished in March 2014. No part has been found.

Experts are quoted as saying that the debris found in La Reunion looks like a wing component from a 777. French experts say it is too early to tell.

The island is far from the search area.

There have been other crashes much closer to La Reunion, however flight MH370 is the only Boeing 777 to have disappeared.

Malaysia is sending a team to investigate the debris discovered on Wednesday.

‘Unique element’

An anonymous US official told the Associated Press news agency that, based on the photos, investigators had a “high degree of confidence” that the part was a “flaperon” unique to a Boeing 777 wing.

Aviation expert Xavier Tytelman also said that it presented “incredible similarities” to a Boeing 777 flaperon.

French air transport officials are investigating the mysterious two-metre-long piece of wreckage

A flaperon is used to both alter the lift characteristics of a wing and control the roll of an aircraft.

Australian investigators, who are leading the hunt, are also reported to be in touch with manufacturers over the find.

In a statement, Australian Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss said that if the wreckage was identified as being from MH370, this “would be consistent with other analysis and modelling that the resting place of the aircraft is in the southern Indian Ocean”.

Any new evidence will be used to refine search efforts, the statement added.

Analysis: BBC’s transport correspondent Richard Westcott

Experts should be able to tell fairly quickly if this is a piece of MH370. Aircraft parts have individual serial numbers of them, and the airlines should have records of all those numbers.

So in theory, investigators could check them and give a positive or negative ID. If it is part of the aircraft, it’s washed up thousands of miles from where search teams continue to look for debris at the bottom of the sea.

And realistically, although it would confirm the aircraft crashed and broke up, a piece of wing is unlikely to reveal much more about what actually happened on board the plane.

But these are all big “ifs” right now. It could still be yet another false alarm.

Follow Richard: @BBCwestcott

A member of the French Air Force cautioned it was “way too soon” to say if it was from the missing flight, according to CNN.

Search teams have been focusing on a 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq mile) area off the coast of Western Australia, where it is believed to have crashed.

Reunion lies off the coast of Madagascar – some 6,000 km (3,730 miles) to the west of the search area.

It remains a mystery what happened to the plane, which vanished after turning away from its north-bound route from Kuala Lumpur.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-33707445#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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