A French aviation expert, Xavier Tytelman, believes he may have found the wreckage of MH370 – the Malaysia Airlines flight which disappeared off the coast of Malaysia in March 2014. The debris, found in the western Indian Ocean on Wednesday, appears to be part of a Boeing 777, the same model as the MH370.
The source said there is a unique element to the Boeing 777’s flaperon, a wing component, that Boeing observers believe they are seeing in photos.
The debris was found Wednesday off the coast of Reunion Island, a French department in the western Indian Ocean. It is being examined to see if it is connected to flight MH370, a member of the French air force in Reunion said Wednesday. Officials conducted an initial assessment of the debris using photographs.
The source said stressed the observations are preliminary.
Mr Tytelman believes that the Indian Ocean location makes sense for wreckage of the plane to have washed up. “The French police are now looking at it, and the Australians – who are in charge of the search – are interested too,” he said. “We don’t know how long it will take to get confirmation or a definite denial. But it’s an intriguing development.”
— Xavier Tytelman (@PeurAvion) July 29, 2015
The Malaysian government has dispatched a team to Reunion Island to investigate the debris, Malaysian Minister of Transportation Liow Tiong Lai said in New York.
“We need to verify. We have wreckage found that needs to be further verified before we can further confirm if it belongs to MH370. So we have dispatched a team to investigate on these issues and we hope that we can identify it as soon as possible,” the minister said.
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) July 29, 2015
CNN analysts say there are indications that the airplane part could be from a Boeing 777, and if that’s the case, it’s likely from MH370. Making the determination should be “very simple” because the serial numbers riveted to numerous parts of the plane can be linked to not only the plane’s model, but the exact aircraft, said CNN aviation analyst Les Abend, who flew 777s during his 30 years as a pilot.
This means crash investigators may be able to figure it out from photographs of the part – which could be an aileron, a flap or a flaperon – even before arriving on the island, he said.
There are at least 3 elements of the discovery that are consistent with MH370, said CNN safety analyst David Soucie. The first is that the part appears to have been torn off of the aircraft.
“This is from a sudden impact, it looks like to me,” Soucie said. There also is a seal on the top of the part that “is consistent with what I would see on an inside flap on a triple 7,” he said, and the barnacles on the part are consistent with the “parasitic activity” that would take place from being under water so long.
However, the part appears to be coated in white paint, which would run counter to Soucie’s other observations in that the 777’s parts would be coated in zinc chromate, not paint. Soucie acknowledged, however, that the part could be coated in something from the ocean.
“If it is a part from a triple 7, we can be fairly confident it is from 370 because there just haven’t been that many triple 7 crashes and there haven’t been any in this area,” said CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with 239 people aboard, disappeared after a late-night take off from Kuala Lumpur on 8th March 2014, bound for Beijing. It was declared lost with no survivors on 24th March 2014.
We’ve hit some speedbumps before, could this finally be it? Hang in there while we update you with more details as soon as we get ’em.