New plane debris being studied for links to MH370
ATP- Arab tourism portal- PARIS/SYDNEY, French authorities are studying a piece of plane debris found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished last year in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters the part was almost certainly from a Boeing 777, the type of aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines on the ill-fated flight, but that it had not yet been established if it was a piece of the missing plane.
France’s BEA air crash investigation agency said it was examining the debris, found washed up on the French island east of Madagascar, in coordination with Malaysian and Australian authorities, but that it was too early to draw conclusions.
Nevertheless, the discovery could be the biggest breakthrough in the so far fruitless search for MH370, which disappeared without a trace in March 2014 carrying 239 passengers and crew while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Most of the passengers were Chinese.There have been four serious accidents involving 777s. Only MH370 is thought to have crashed south of the equator.
Investigators believe someone deliberately switched off the plane’s transponder before diverting it thousands of miles off course.
Search efforts led by Australia have focused on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia, roughly 3,700 km (2,300 miles) from Reunion Island.Malaysia said it had sent a team to Reunion to verify whether the washed-up debris was from MH370.
The island, about 600 km (370 miles) east of Madagascar, is a French Indian Ocean territory.
"The part has not yet been identified and it is not possible at this hour to ascertain whether the part is from a B777 and/or from MH370," a BEA spokesman said in an email on Wednesday.
The plane part, which according to aviation experts may be a moving wing surface known as a "flaperon" situated close to the fuselage, usually contains markings or part numbers that should allow it to be traced to an individual aircraft, the person familiar with the matter said.Greg Feith, an aviation safety consultant and former crash investigator at the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said his sources at Boeing had told him the piece was from a 777.
Whether it was MH370 was not clear, he said."But we haven’t lost any other 777s in that part of the world," Feith added.