An AIRCRAFT wing fragment washed ashore on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard, experts said.
Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak said yesterday that “an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed MH370”.
The barnacle-encrusted wing fragment was sent to France, where experts began examining it yesterday. Investigators will analyse the metal with high-powered microscopes to try and find out what caused the plane to go down.
The Boeing 777 disappeared 515 days ago on 8 March while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. It is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, but the reason remains one of aviation’s biggest mysteries.
The first piece of physical evidence of the aircraft was found on the French territory of Reunion Island, thousands of miles from the area near Australia where the plane is believed to have gone down.
“We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24 March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Mr Najib said in Kuala Lumpur.
“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 on board MH370. They have our deepest sympathy and prayers,” he said.
In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said the flaperon, part of the plane’s wing, found on Reunion Island on 29 July was confirmed to be of Flight MH370 by the French agency that investigates air crashes, known as the BEA, the Malaysian investigation team, a technical representative from PRC and the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau in Toulouse, France.
“Family members of passengers and crew have already been informed and we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected,” it said.
The statement added this “is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370. We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery.”
But next-of-kin, investigators, and the aviation industry are still left with the question of what caused the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft to inexplicably divert on the way to the Chinese capital.
The flight apparently veered out over the Indian Ocean, flying for hours after its communications and tracking systems were shut off, in what remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of aviation.
Mr Najib said: “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.”