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DEVELOPING: Confirmed Wreckage from MH370 Found

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Written by: NYCAviation Staff
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At a press conference held a short while ago, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that wreckage from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 has been found. The part, a flaperon, was found a week ago on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion. Multiple sources, including Boeing, had previously identified the part as coming from a Boeing 777. However, definitive confirmation that the part was installed on 9M-MRO was much slower to occur.

Réunion is a French Overseas Department, making its shores French territory. As such, the duty of identifying the flaperon has fallen to the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA). Consistent with French law, the judicial branch has also become involved with the case.

Late last week, the approximately 6 foot long part was transported from Réunion to the BEA’s laboratories in Toulouse, France. Also over this past weekend, representatives from the Malaysian Government met with French officials to negotiate each nation’s role in the investigation.

More recently, the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau had released the results of an analysis of the Indian Ocean’s currents. That analysis confirmed that the area of seabed already being searched off the coast of Perth could have been the origin of the debris found on Réunion. However, a reverse analysis confirming the exact origin is impossible, given the nature of ocean currents.

The discovery of debris had sparked a flurry of activity along the shores of Réunion over the past week. In some cases, debris was discovered and reported to possibly have come from the vanished airliner. However, all discoveries after the flaperon have proven to not be aircraft debris.

The shoreline search has been slow to spread to other lands, however. Only the neighboring island of Mauritius has begun a search of its own shores. That announcement only came yesterday, nearly a week after the first wreckage was discovered.


(Update, 8/5/15 3:30pm EDT) Below is the text of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement to the media.

On 8 March 2014, flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared. The days, weeks and months that followed have been a period of torment for the families of those on board.

The plane’s disappearance was without precedent. At every stage, we followed the tiny amount of evidence that existed. But, despite the efforts of 26 nations and the largest search in aviation history, from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean, the plane could not be located.

Neither could investigations by the world’s leading aviation experts answer why MH370 veered off course and went dark. While the plane’s disappearance remained a mystery, we have shared the pain of those who could find no comfort.

Last week, on 29th July, we were informed by the French authorities that part of an aircraft wing had been found on Reunion, the French island in the Indian Ocean.

Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370.

We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

This is a remote, inhospitable and dangerous area, and on behalf of Malaysia I would like to thank the many nations, organisations and individuals who have participated in the search.

The burden and uncertainty faced by the families during this time has been unspeakable. It is my hope that this confirmation, however tragic and painful, will at least bring certainty to the families and loved ones of the 239 people onboard MH370. They have our deepest sympathy and prayers.

I would like to assure all those affected by this tragedy that the government of Malaysia is committed to do everything within our means to find out the truth of what happened. MH370’s disappearance marked us as a nation. We mourn with you, as a nation.

And I promise you this: Malaysia will always remember and honour those who were lost onboard MH370.


(Update, 8/5/15 5:00pm EDT) In a statement delivered minutes after the Malaysian Prime Minister’s, deputy Paris prosecutor Serge Mackowiak was considerably more cautious that the part found was in fact from MH370. “There exists a very high probability that the flaperon indeed belongs to flight MH370,” the prosecutor stated, before insisting that further testing was needed to conclusively determine the origin. Those additional tests are expected to begin tomorrow.


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