Is new plane debris from MH370? MAS working with authorities to determine origins of plane part
A piece of plane wreckage about 2m in length washed up on the beach of La Reunion, an island east of Madagascar, on Wednesday (July 29).
Speculation has been rife that the plane part, a wing component, belongs to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak said in a statement on Thursday (July 30): "Initial reports suggest that the debris is very likely to be from a Boeing 777, but we need to verify whether it is from flight MH370."
Boeing 777 is the aircraft model of MH370, which is the only 777 plane unaccounted for.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said it was working with authorities to determine the origin of the debris.
La Reunion island. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS
Deputy prime minister of Australia Warren Truss said that while "other possibilities" exist, "clearly we are treating this as a major lead".
Malaysia and France are both sending teams down to La Reunion, which belongs to France, to examine the wing component, which has been identified as a flaperon.
The flaperon reportedly has a number stamped on it which could help in determining if the debris is from a Boeing 777.
Mr Najib said: "To find out as fast as possible (if it is from flight MH370), the debris will be shipped by French authorities to Toulouse, site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations."
A damaged suitcase was also found near where the plane debris was recovered. It is unclear if it has any link to the MH370 tragedy.
MH370 disappeared without a trace in March last year carrying 239 passengers and crew. It had been en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Search efforts led by Australia have focused on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia.
"In the event that the wreckage is identified as being from MH370 on La Reunion Island, it would be consistent with other analysis and modelling that the resting place of the aircraft is in the southern Indian Ocean," Mr Truss said in a statement.
Rough location of search area in relation to where debris was found. PHOTO: GOOGLE MAPS
Source: Reuters, Twitter