A piece of an airplane wing flap that washed ashore on a French island in the Indian Ocean reached investigators outside Toulouse Saturday who will try to determine whether it comes from a Malaysian jetliner that vanished 16 months ago.
Another Malaysian team was en route to Reunion, he said, where it would examine the remains of a piece of luggage that was found there and any other debris that may turn up.
Malaysia’s deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said authorities were now closer to solving the mystery of MH370. It was founded in 1976. He said it was too early to draw conclusions until there was solid proof that the debris belonged to the missing MH370.
Boeing said it would dispatch a technical team to France to help analyse the wing part, which has been confirmed to hold the same serial number as the US plane manufacturer.
Dr Simon Boxall, an oceanographer from the UK’s University of Southampton, told the BBC that the search for debris could also now include the coasts of Madagascar and South Africa, west of Reunion.
A preliminary assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies, produced in the wake of the MH370 disaster, suggested it was likely someone in the cockpit deliberately caused the aircraft’s movements before the Malaysian airliner disappeared.
A “closed” suitcase “in very bad condition” was found in the same place where a plane debris washed up on French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, local media reported Thursday.
Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the piece will arrive in Paris on Saturday and will be sent to Toulouse, the site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations. Only Boeing can verify (that the flaperon came from MH370).
The search has focused on part of the southern Indian Ocean east of Reunion.
Air safety investigators, including one from Boeing, have identified the component as a flaperon from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing, a U.S. official said.
“We know that the main debris field associated with MH370 is going to be on the bottom of the ocean, not floating on the surface”, he said.
Malaysia has also deployed additional personnel to look for more debris at Réunion while dispatching another set of experts to France to coordinate the investigation.