Flight MH370:Reunion debris to be tested in France
DEBRIS found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion is to be transported to France to find out whether it is from the missing flight MH370, Malaysia’s prime minister has said.
Initial reports suggest the two-metre long object is very likely to be from a Boeing 777, Najib Razak said.
The Malaysia Airlines flight, a Boeing 777, vanished while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.
The search has focused on part of the southern Indian Ocean east of Reunion.
Oceanographer David Griffin, of Australia’s national science agency, told the BBC that the location of the find was “consistent with where we think debris might have turned up”.
There were 239 passengers and crew on board the plane when it went missing.
Mr. Najib said French authorities were taking the debris to the southern French city of Toulouse – the site of the nearest office of the French body responsible for air accident investigations (the BEA) – to verify it as quickly as possible.
He said the location of the debris was consistent with drift analysis provided to Malaysian investigators.
“As soon as we have more information or any verification, we will make it public. I promise the families of those lost that whatever happens, we will not give up.”
The BBC said French aviation authorities have a huge hangar facility in the city to store and study wreckage, as they did with the Air France airliner that crashed on its way from Brazil to Paris in 2009.
Aviation experts who have studied photos of the debris, found on Wednesday, said it resembles a flaperon – a moving part of the wing surface – from a Boeing 777.
Yesterday, a municipal employee also found what appeared to be part of a damaged suitcase on the Reunion coast, according to local media (in French).
Dr Simon Boxall, an oceanographer from the UK’s University of Southampton, told the BBC that the search for debris could also now include the coasts of Madagascar and South Africa, west of Reunion.
“The key piece of information is still going to be sitting with the black boxes on the sea floor,” he said.
Search efforts for MH370, led by Australia, are focused on an area west of the Australian city of Perth – about 4,000km east of Reunion.
The Australian government has described the discovery of the wreckage as “a very significant development”.
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