Only one Boeing 777 has ever disappeared over water: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
American investigators tell The New York Times that a part of an airplane found washed up on a beach on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion is from a Boeing 777. “A person familiar with the matter” tells Reuters the part was almost certainly from a 777.
This can only be MH370.
After a fruitless 17-month search, the discovery could be the beginning of solving the world’s greatest aviation mystery—the first piece of physical evidence that investigators can examine. A few experts still have reservations about the certainty that the debris is from the 777, but most do not.
The piece of debris is part of a wing and probably a control surface from that wing. Control surfaces are among the most likely part of airplane wreckage to survive for a long while as flotsam. The most buoyant parts of an airplane are the lightest parts of the wings, like the flaps and ailerons that are hinged to the rear of the wings and are easily separated by impact on water or land (and for the same reason the horizontal and vertical control surfaces of the tail).
The dimensions of the piece that washed up on Réunion, 9 feet by 3 feet, are consistent with the size of several pieces of a 777’s control surfaces, possibly what is called a flaperon on the inner rear section of the wing.
As encouraging as this discovery is, it does raise important caveats.
Why would only one fragment turn up? Airplane wreckage is normally found in clusters.
After a fruitless 17-month search this could be the beginning of solving the world’s greatest aviation mystery.
That means an air-and-sea search of the area east of Réunion should be launched in the belief that other debris will be visible in the area—the more physical evidence gathered, the better. Read more at the Daily Beast.