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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MH370: Plane Wreckage Found in Indian Ocean Being Tested - Updated

Update: 30 July 2015

Manufacturing numbers on the piece of wreckage found on Reunion Island is identified as from a Boeing 777.

Also, there is no record of a Boeing 777 ever crashing anywhere in the southern hemisphere.

And, because the wreckage floats, it could have carried on the east to west currents between Australia and Africa for thousands of miles. Barnacles growing on it indicate that it had been in the water for at least a year. MH370 disappeared 15 months ago.

A fragment of luggage also washed up onshore.

So, it appears the wing-part was from MH370, which almost certainly confirms that it crashed in the ocean, but we are not much closer to finding the main wreckage than before. Backtracking currents may provide searchers with an intersecting arc to narrow the search area, but that has yet to be seen.

Police inspect the debris washed up on the island of Reunion
From BBC Asia

French officials are investigating whether plane wreckage that washed up on an Indian Ocean island is from missing flight MH370.

The debris, apparently a wing flap, was found on French-owned Reunion.

An aviation security expert said it had "incredible similarities" to a flap from a Boeing 777, the type of plane that vanished in March 2014.

Malaysian Air MH370
But the island is a huge distance from the plane's search area and there have been other crashes much closer.

No part of the Malaysian Airlines flight has ever been found. It disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Aviation expert Xavier Tytelman said a code on the plane would be examined, promising a "definitive answer" on whether there was a link in a few days.

Police carry a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found on
the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion
French air transport officials are investigating the mysterious two-metre-long piece of wreckage
Australian investigators, who are leading the hunt, are also reported to be in touch with manufacturers over the find.

But a member of the French Air Force cautioned it was "way too soon" to say if it was from the missing flight, according to CNN.

Search teams have been focusing on a 60,000 sq km (23,000 sq mile) area off the coast of Western Australia, where it is believed to have crashed.

Reunion lies some 6,000 km (3,730 miles) to the west, off the coast of Madagascar.

Reunion is an unlikely place for MH370 debris to appear,
but one never knows
It remains a mystery what happened to the plane, which vanished after turning away from its north-bound route from Kuala Lumpur.

Did MH370 have the range to reach Reunion? 

Yes, 777s have a range of about 6000 miles, while Reunion is about 3000 miles from Kuala Lumpur. MH370 could have reached well into Africa. However, the plane would have had to fly almost directly over the island of Maritius before getting close to Reunion. It should have been noticed, especially if it was losing altitude.

A number of theories have been proposed as to what happened to MH370, you can read some of them here