Fragments of a wing washed up in the French island of Reunion could be wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, says aviation expert
A French aviation expert believes he may have found the wreckage of MH370 – the Malaysia Airlines flight which disappeared off the coast of Malaysia in March 2014.
Xavier Tytelman, a former military pilot who now specialises in aviation security, was contacted on Wednesday morning by a man living on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. The man sent Mr Tytelman a series of photos showing wreckage of a plane, which the Frenchman said could possibly be the missing jet.
The French island of Reunion, is located in the western Indian Ocean. Air safety investigators, including one working for Boeing, have confirmed that the debris comes from the edge of a 777 wing, the Associated Press reported.
Search crews are now working to investigate the debris to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said a team is on the way to verify the wreckage and try to determine whether it came from the missing plane.
“Whatever wreckage found needs to be further verified before we can ever confirm that it is belonged to MH370,” he said.
It likely wouldn’t take long to determine for certain if the piece of wreckage is from a 777, and if so, it would almost certainly have come from MH370.
“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.
"I've been studying hundreds of photos and speaking to colleagues," Mr Tytelman reportedly said. "And we all think it is likely that the wing is that of a Boeing 777 – the same plane as MH370.
"Police in Reunion examining the wreckage say that it looks like it's been in the water for around a year, which again would fit with MH370. We can't say for certainty, but we do think there is a chance that this is it."
The plane vanished with 239 people on board in circumstances which have baffled investigators, and left distraught families searching for answers.
But even if the debris did come from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, it may not change the search plans, Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan told the Associated Press. Reunion Island is within the 46,000-square-mile search area determined to be the likely ending point of the flight.
“It doesn’t rule out our current search area if this were associated with MH370,” Dolan told the Associated Press. “It is entirely possible that something could have drifted from our current search area to that island.”
But it also may not give any new clues about where to look, experts say.
“It’s going to be hard to say with any certainty where the source of this was,” said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. “It just confirms that the airplane is in the water and hasn’t been hijacked to some remote place and is waiting to be used for some other purpose…. We haven’t lost any 777s anywhere else.”