The final resting place of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 might remain a mystery for a while yet, but if a piece of airplane wreckage found on Reunion island in the Indian Ocean is part of a Boeing 777, experts say that it is definitely from the missing plane. How can they be so sure? Aviation experts say all other Boeing 777s are accounted for…
ABC News reported July 30 that investigators are treating the large piece of debris, said to be a wing flaperon, as, in the words of Australia Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, “a major lead.” Although Reunion is an extremely long way from the search zone (a search which is being led by Australia), time and currents and wind make the island quite suitable as a recipient of errant debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean early March 2014.
“If this wreckage [is] from MH370, it’s an important breakthrough, particularly for families,” Truss said. “The families who have been involved with this long, long, long, long wait, for them to have some degree of closure would be great comfort.”
Still, the identification of the debris as part of the missing plane won’t make the Boeing 777 easier to find. However, Truss noted that identifying it as coming from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 would go a long way to debunking many of the theories — such as the interdimensional portal disappearance, the hijacked by aliens, and the many convoluted cloak-and-dagger (conspiracy) theories — concerning the missing flight.
“There are a lot of very wild theories that have been around, including it landed in Russia,” Truss said. “It won’t positively prove it is in any other location other than I guess the Indian Ocean.”
Matching the flaperon, a wing device used to control and guide an airplane’s motion, to the missing plane and studying the piece of wreckage might provide further clues in what happened to Flight MH370. And confirmation that it is a piece from a Boeing 777 would make it almost without doubt part of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, because, according to the flight safety database Aviation Safety Network, all other Boeing 777s in the world are accounted for.
According to CNN, Deputy Prime Minister Truss provided a number — BB670 — Thursday that appears on the wreckage that just might help investigators identify the piece of debris. The symbols did not appear to be a serial or registration number, he said, but they could be a maintenance number. He added that French and Malaysian authorities would be responsible for the identification of the Reunion debris and perhaps matching it to the missing plane.
As for the physical search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Australia is currently overseeing the underwater search for Flight 370, which is centered some 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) east of Reunion. An international search effort has targeted the Indian Ocean since it was discovered that the last known heading for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which was originally scheduled to fly to Beijing, China, had been southerly and west of Malaysia. Just why the missing plane altered course so drastically is unknown and has led to endless and sometimes fantastical speculation, debate, and conspiracy theories. All 239 people aboard the missing craft are believed to have not survived.