The mystery over the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 is finally over. The suspense over the ill- fated airline was revealed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. At a press conference he had finally confirmed that a jet part found on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the first physical evidence from the plane that went missing almost 17 months ago.
Investigators “conclusively” linked the piece to the missing plane, Najib said. A French prosecutor stopped short of that assessment, saying only that officials have a “strong presumption” that the debris being studied in a government laboratory is from the MH370.
The so-called flaperon bore no identifying marks to show definitively that it was installed on the Boeing Co. 777’s wing, said a US official, who was not authorized to speak about the probe. The working assumption is still that the piece came from MH370 because it’s unquestionably a 777 component and there are no any other missing jets of that type, the official said.
Najib’s announcement validated authorities’ hypothesis that the plane carrying 239 people crashed in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia. But the discovery of the piece thousands of kilometers away on France’s Reunion Island doesn’t pinpoint where the aircraft took its fatal plunge in March 2014—and why it strayed so far from its intended Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing route.
“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion island is indeed from MH370,” Najib said at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur.
Most of those on board the doomed jet were Chinese nationals, and the hunt for any evidence—week after week, month after month—took a toll on family members left to grieve and wonder about their loved ones’ fate. Those emotions swam to the surface again as Najib prepared for his brief, televised remarks.
“We still want to ask them some key questions,” Jiang Hui, a representative of a committee for Chinese families from MH370, said by phone. “Did the plane make landing? Had all passengers boarded the plane?”
The link to MH370 gives fresh momentum to a hunt that already has scanned more than 55,000 square kilometers of the seabed southwest of Australia. The search area is about 3,800 kilometers southeast of Reunion Island.Australia has been leading the hunt for the plane which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board in March last year.