Will reunion debris solve mystery of MH370?

London, Aug 1: Will a two-meter long wreckage give hope to the search for the missing flight MH370? Some experts said probably not.

The debris, reportedly to be a flaperon, found on Reunion island "most certainly" belongs to a Boeing 777, according to Malaysian officials.The wreckage will be flown to France for further analysis and it is expected that the final results will be announced very soon.

Will Reunion debris solve mystery of MH370?

"Even if it were clear that it were from Boeing 777, they would want to be sure that the serial number matched the original aircraft," Xinhua reported quoting professor Graham Braithwaite as saying.

He said whilst very unlikely that a piece of 777 aircraft could end up in the sea except through a catastrophic event in flight, it is not impossible that it might be a spare part that was being carried on a shipping container, for example.

Flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the Malaysia airlines flight MH370 vanished in March 2014 with 239 passengers on board. Based on signals from the plane that were detected by satellite, the plane was believed to crash in the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities have focused their search efforts on an area close to the Southwest coast of Australia, which is around 4,000 km east of Reunion island.

The fact that this piece of wreckage may have turned up on Reunion island corroborated the belief that, based on the satellite data tracked by Inmarsat, the aircraft ended up in the ocean somewhere off the Southwest coast of Australia.

However, after such a long period of time the oceanographers would not be able to narrow down the search for the impact point to any more accurate area than the current search area.

"In other words it corroborates the strongest theory as to where the wreckage will be found rather than adds any more detail to it."

His view was supported by Professor Keith Haines, an oceanographer at the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology.

Haines said the latest progress would not help narrow the current search area. "It is far too long since the crash to determine any details of the drift path of the plane through modelling of the currents."

Other pieces of debris if they remained on the surface might turn up in quite different places in the Indian Ocean as the dispersal area could be wide.

He previously said that currents could be strong, which could move surface debris by up to 1,000 km over two weeks. "However, currents don't always travel in a straight line and surface debris can also be blown by the wind if they project out of the water."

But still there are some who believe finding the debris is the best chance of locating the crash site.

"The holy grail now is determining the location of the aircraft' s black box, which is believed to be very close to the site of impact. The best way do to this would be to find more pieces of debris and then apply the same simulations to track their origin in the ocean," said Dr Erik van Sebille, Oceanographer at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London.

This process of triangulation is really "the best opportunity we have" to put the location on the map, he said.


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