French investigators have formally identified a washed-up piece of airplane debris found in July on a remote island in the Indian Ocean as part of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Boeing 777 that disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard.
Investigators have been examining the wing part, called a flaperon, since it was flown to a French aeronautical research laboratory near Toulouse last month.
Malaysian authorities had already declared that the wing fragment was from the jet that went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but until now French investigators couldn’t say with certainty that was the case.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement that investigators used maintenance records to match a serial number found on the wing part with the missing Boeing.
“Today it is possible to state with certainty that the flaperon discovered on Reunion corresponds to that of Flight MH370,” the prosecutor’s statement said.
Cheng Liping, whose husband was on the plane, said in Beijing that she still needed to see his body and for the plane’s black boxes to be found.
“We have been anxiously waiting for such a long time and the confirmation of just one piece of debris can hardly tell us what happened to the plane,” she said yesterday.
The flight’s disappearance on 8 March, 2014, has been one of aviation’s most confounding mysteries.