A piece of aircraft debris that was washed up onto Island Reunion of the Indian Ocean could very likely be that of the missing flight MH370. The Malaysian Airlines flight, a Boeing 777, travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished on 8 March 2014—and the recently discovered debris could both provide closure for the affected family members and it could also solve the huge aviation mystery.
The debris was discovered some 4000km away from the area where MH370 is thought to have gone missing. Mr. Dolan, the head of Australian Transport Safety Bureau mentioned to BBC that he could confidently say that the wreckage is probably associated with a 777 Boeing aircraft.
The debris that was found on the island is about 2-2.5 meters long and it resembles that of a flaperon that, according to him, there’s no other recorded case of a flaperon being lost from a Boeing 777.
So what exactly is flaperon?
Flaperons are control surfaces on the wing of an aircraft that help to stabilise the plane during low-speed flying during take-off and landing.
Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told Reuters earlier that the flaperon could “almost” certainly represents the Boeing 777 aircraft.
After the initial investigation, it’s been confirmed that the flaperon does indeed belong to the Boeing 777. That being said, officials still haven’t confirmed if the flight belongs to MH370.
Boeing investigators are also confident that the debris belongs to a 777 aircraft because the only 777 aircraft that they are aware of that could have been floating in the Indian Ocean is that of MH370.
According to a CNN source, Boeing investigators have been analysing photos and the stenciled number that corresponds to a 777 component. And the images of the debris also matches the schematic drawings for the right wing flaperon from a Boeing 777. Despite the current level of confidence, investigations are ongoing to confirm that the debris in fact belongs to that a 777 aircraft—and that could be the stepping-stone towards figuring about what happened to MH370.
If the investigations yield a positive result, it would only reassure Australian officials that they have in fact been looking in the right direction for the rest of the plane.
Malaysian Airlines is sending their team of investigators to Paris and a second team to Saint-Denis Reunion, according to CNN.
In normal cases, a small serial number attached to a flaperon would be used for identification, but the debris seems to be missing the serial number plate.
However, France 2 television showed a picture of the part with the figures “657 BB” stamped on its interior and according to the code in the 777 manual, it’s supposed to inform workers to place it on the right wing. That could be used along with other markings to identify the plane.
The investigations will not only identify whether the debris belongs to MH370 but it will also shed a great amount of light in terms of what exactly happened to the flight—something that we are looking forward to.
Currently, investigators continue to look for more debris around Island Reunion and nearby islands. While they were doing so, they were alarmed by further debris that they thought to be the door of the flight but it was later confirmed after investigations that it was just a ladder.
According to BBC, Malaysia’s Director General of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told Associated Press: “I read all over media [the new debris] was part of a door. But I checked with the Civil Aviation Authority, and people on the ground in Reunion, and it was just a domestic ladder.”
Meanwhile, according to Wall Street Journal, an anti-terrorism judge laid out plans on Monday as to how France will lead the investigation further regarding the found debris. However, other safety experts feel that this will only complicate the hunt for the truth and it could even muddle jurisdiction lines and hinder the investigation.
And on Wednesday, work will begin in the city of Toulouse to try and officially confirm if debris belongs to MH370.
The quest continues on.