Aeroplane wreckage which could be that of MH370, the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, has washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
Debris that washed up on the island could be the remnants of a destroyed Boeing 777, the same model of plane that went missing in March last year.
Writing on a blog, French aviation security expert and former pilot Xavier Tytelman, said the images showed an “incredible” similarity between the appearance of the wreckage and the wing of a Boeing 777. Comparing Boeing plane schematics and the images from the scene, Tytelman said there is a small possibility that the wreckage found could be the remnants of MH370.
Police carry the debris from the unidentified aircraft from the area where it was discovered
He said that a number is visible on the wreckage, and comparing it with the records of the lost plane will be able to give a definitive answer as to whether the debris truly does come from MH370.
The Boeing 777 has only been involved in five ‘hull loss’ incidents in its history. This term is used when the aircraft is damaged beyond repair, or when it has gone missing.
One of these accidents was the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, after it was hit by a missile while over Ukraine in July last year. The rest of the accidents (excluding MH370) all took place over land, at airports in London, Cairo and San Francisco, leaving only one missing 777 in the world.
Schoolchildren hold a vigil for the missing plane and its passengers
Therefore if this piece of wreckage is indeed from a Boeing 777, then it is likely that it will be from MH370.
Tytelman added that the piece of debris, which resembles part of a wing, seems relatively intact, and reported that police on the scene believed it could have been underwater for about a year.
A US official told the Associated Press that air safety investigators had a “high degree of confidence” the aircraft debris was a “flaperon”, a wing component unique to the Boeing 777.
A French official close to the investigation also confirmed that French law enforcement officers were on site to examine the debris.
There is by no means any solid proof that this wreckage is that of MH370, and a definitive verdict of the origin of the debris should be found soon.
Certainly, La Reunion is far away from the suspected crash site of MH370, which is in the ocean to the west of Australia.
The island is still in the Indian ocean, but is around 2,800 miles from where investigators have been searching for the downed plane.
However, according to Tytelman, it is not unfeasible that this piece of debris could have been moved by the current across the ocean over the course of the year.