French Authorities Say Flaperon Definitely Belongs to Missing Malaysian Airlines Jet MH370

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Mystery solved?Photo: YANNICK PITOU

A little more than a month after a Boeing 777 part washed up on the French island of Réunion, officials in France have confirmed that the debris — an airplane flaperon — belongs to the missing Malaysian Airlines jet MH370. French investigators came to the conclusion "with certainty" after matching the serial number on the wing piece with records from a Spanish company, a Boeing subcontractor, that had manufactured parts for the lost plane.

The verdict of French investigators backs up the initial conclusions made by the Malaysian government, which identified the wreckage as coming from the jet in early August, a little more than a week after the part was discovered on the beach of a small island in the Indian Ocean. At the time, French authorities had said there was a "high probability" that the part belonged to MH370, but they balked at drawing a definitive conclusion until investigators could conduct additional testing, fueling some questions about the authenticity of the Malaysian officials’ claim.  

France’s verdict dispels those doubts, leaving investigators to now see if the debris can reveal any clues as to the cause of the likely plane crash. The flaperon is the first shred of evidence discovered from the Malaysian Airlines jet that seemingly vanished in March 2014 with more than 230 people onboard. According to the AP, Australian authorities are still searching for more wreckage over the Indian Ocean, to the east of the island of Réunion, looking for another shred of evidence to shed light on the slightly less strange, but still puzzling, aviation mystery.