A French aviation expert believes he has found a piece of plane debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines jet MH370 that vanished in March 2014.
The six-foot long object, which appeared to be part of a wing, on Wednesday washed up on the shores of a beach on an island called La Réunion in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. A man living on the island discovered the object on the coastline while cleaning up the beach and contacted Xavier Tytelman, a former military pilot and current aviation specialist.
Upon receiving photographs of what seemed like the debris of a jet, Mr. Tytelman further investigated through examinations and insight from colleagues. Although uncertain, he said that there is a likely chance that the wreckage fits the missing Boeing 777.
“Police in Réunion examining the wreckage say that it looks like it’s been in the water for around a year, which again would fit with MH370,” Mr. Tytelman told The Telegraph.
A witness at the scene reported the piece of the aircraft was “covered in shells,” indicating that “it had been in the water for a long time.”
Australians who led the search were also captivated by the finding.
“We don’t know how long it will take until we will get confirmation or a definite denial. But it’s an intriguing development,” the aviation expert said.
In 2014, the mystery of the disappeared plane carrying 239 passengers drew on a series of investigations that led to unanswered questions and a circulation of bizarre conspiracy theories of the plane’s disappearance. Online debates generated a range of possibilities, including a suggestion that the plane was used as a “flying bomb” headed for US military installations on the Diego Garcia atoll, but shot down by the Americans. (RELATED: 9 Theories Surrounding The Disappearance Of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370)
Months after the plane went missing over the South China Sea, mysteriously diverting from its route to Beijing, and with no solid conclusion, Malaysian authorities in January declared all on board were presumed dead.
Mr. Tytelman and the French police said that it makes sense that the plane washed up on shore from the Indian Ocean, as it was found more than 3,800 miles away from where the jet was last seen.
Though Boeing took the case to a rest, the aviation giant said in a statement that it remained “committed to supporting the MH370 investigation and the search for the airplane.”
“We continue to share our technical expertise and analysis. Our goal, along with the entire global aviation industry, continues to be not only to find the airplane, but also to determine what happened- and why,” the statement read.
Mr. Tytelman wrote on his blog that the finding has brought attention to a website called AvGeek, a closed forum in which pilots and aviation enthusiasts communicate ideas and issues. He also addressed the doubts of the wreckage being associated with MH370, referencing the code found on the debris, which does not correspond to the registration of an airplane or the serial number of a device.
Air crash investigators will continue to closely examine the wreckage to see if the serial numbers align with the missing Boeing 777. French air transport officials have even opened a probe to track down where it could have come from.
“But if the flaperon does indeed belong to MH370, it’s clear that the reference will be swiftly identified. In a few days we will have a definite answer,” he wrote.