An airline wing flap washed up on Reunion Island beach last week has arrived in the French city of Toulouse.
Aviation experts will examine and identify the flaperon at the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA), Europe’s leading centre for analysing aircraft wreckage, to determine if it is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
Even though the debris was found off the African coast, Australian authorities will not be changing their search area.
“From our point of view, the search area have defined based on very close analysis of satellite data associated with the aircraft,” explained Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner, Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). “We haven’t seen anything as a result of the potential identification of this debris that changes our search area. It’s certainly very possible for debris to have floated from our search area to Reunion. We will continue to focus on our priority search area.”
The ATSB has been charged with the search effort for missing aircraft in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Relatives’ agonising search for answers
The debris could help bring an end to 16 months of lingering uncertainty for families of those who were on the missing Boeing 777 jet.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told Reuters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday that additional Malaysian officials were headed to Reunion to look for more debris and others would go to France.
“If the flaperon does belongs to MH370, it is actually in accordance with the drift pattern seen in the southern Indian Ocean. But we do not want to speculate. We will wait for verification from the French authorities,” he said.
Investigators are not expected to begin examining the wreckage before Wednesday afternoon (August 5).
If the serial number on the flaperon confirms that it is from Flight 370, then sophisticated tools can try to glean more information about the causes of the disappearance.
Flight MH370 vanished last year, en-route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing – with 239 passengers and crew onboard.