'Major breakthrough' may help solve riddle
Updated: 2015-08-07 07:52
By Xinhua in Kuala Lumpur / Paris(China Daily)
'We now have physical evidence flight ended in Indian Ocean'
Malaysian authorities have announced that recently discovered debris is from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, kindling hopes that the mystery surrounding the plane's disappearance may finally be solved.
Awing segment, known as a flaperon, is part of the aircraft, the authorities announced on Thursday, 17 months after the Boeing 777-200 vanished.
"Today (Thursday) 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," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said.
"We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on March 24 last year, Flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern IndianOcean, "Najib said.
"This is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance. ... We expect and hope that there will be more objects found which will be able to help resolve this mystery."
However, what has been announced so far has been far from sufficient for those concerned about the flight, especially for the families and relatives of the 239 victims.
Examination of the debris found last week on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean began in France on Wednesday.
Xavier Tytelman, an aviation security expert based in France, highlighted the significance of legal proof in deciding links between debris and lost aircraft.
Evidence may be provided by a serial number that corresponds to that of the plane or through analysis of the paint work, the former military pilot said.
Experts in Paris had avoided being too assertive by saying they had a "very strong presumption" the debris came from the missing plane.
Deputy Paris prosecutor Serge Mackowiak said this was based on technical data from the manufacturer and the airline.
Boeing representatives confirmed that the flaperon came from a 777 jet "due to its technical characteristics - mentioning the color and the structure of the joints," he said.
Tytelman said technical analysis is aimed at finding if the debris "suffered a shock and if so, what was the angle and intensity of this shock".
"Studies will also be made on whether there are chemical traces-for example, traces of explosives or a fire," he said.
Tytelman said examination of the wreckage will offer a great chance to solve the mystery of the missing plane, including the location and the circumstances in which it went down.
Mackowiak said that a fragment from a suitcase, which was also found on Reunion Island, will be forensically examined by French police as soon as possible.
A huge surface and underwater hunt had failed to locate the plane, which disappeared on March 8 last year on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
(China Daily 08/07/2015 page3)