Malaysia Airlines MH370: Aircraft part from missing plane could have washed up on La Reunion Island

The large piece of aircraft wreckage that washed up on Reunion Island appears to come from a wing. Photo: Twitter.Search for missing flight MH370 uncovers man-made wreckageGovernment to fund MH370 search off WA coastRecovery operation could take months or yearsMH370: Timeline to tragedyA number found on the aircraft part washed up on the shore of Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, should be the vital clue that will allow authoritiesto confirm quicklywhether it is part of the doomed MalaysiaAirlines Flight 370.

The number BB670 is visible on what appears to be a wing flap.

Former US National Transport Safety Bureau investigatorGregFeithsaid every manufacturer puts a data tag on every part that goes on anaircraft, apart fromthings such as screws.

It could be a part number, serial number, bar code or other information.

“If that data plate is there, it’s relatively easy[tomatchit with thetypeof plane it’s from],” MrFeithtoldWired.

Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the AustralianTransport Safety Bureauwho has been co-ordinating the search off the coast of Western Australia, said that thenumbercould link the part definitively,”possibly in 24 hours”to the jetliner that disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.

The part that washed up on Reunionwas “not inconsistent with what we know” from the bureau’s ocean drift modelling, Mr Dolan said.

“On the modelling, yep, something could come ashore at Reunion. It might even, possibly, get to Madagascar,” Mr Dolan said.

A French official with knowledge of the investigation said that the object appeared to be a wing flap, possibly from a Boeing 777, the type of aircraft used on the flight.

The official said that the object was about 9 feet (2.7 metres) long and 3 feet (one metre) wide, and that it appeared to have been in the water for a very long time.

BREAKING NEWS: US official: Debris in photo belongs to same type of aircraft as the missing Malaysia plane. pic.twitter杭州夜网m/2nEZMpIpKX

— Breaking News Feed (@PzFeed) July 29, 2015

The French aviation safety bureau, known as BEA, said in a statement on Wednesday that it “is studying the information on the airplane part found in La Reunion, in co-ordination with our Malaysian and Australian colleagues and with the judicial authorities”.

It added: “It is not possible at this hour to ascertain whether the part is from a B-777 and/or from MH370.”

The French official said that the authorities were in the process of designating a laboratory in France where the object would be taken for examination.

Xavier Tytelman, an expert in aviation security, told Agence France-Presse that images of the debris displayed “incredible similarities between a #B777 flaperon and the debris found”, referring to a Boeing 777.

Referring to the number found on the object,Mr Tytelman told AFP:”This code is not a plane’s registration number, nor serial number.

“However … it’s clear that this reference would allow a quick identification. In a few days, we will have a definitive answer.

“We all think it is likely that the wing is that of a Boeing 777 – the same plane as MH370,” MrTytelman toldthe LondonTelegraph.

Without identifying numbers on the debris, confirmation would take much longer, Mr Dolan said.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, a Boeing 777,disappeared on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

It flew westward across the Malay Peninsula and then southward over the Indian Ocean, and it is presumed to have crashed there in very deep water, killing everyone aboard.Despiteextensive searches from a number of different countries including Australia, no sign of the plane has been seen since.

Investigators believethe plane crashed into the Indian Ocean.

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