Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak announced today that the barnacle-covered flaperon found on Réunion, a French island east of Madagascar, last week is definitely from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. “It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you, an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion is indeed from MH370,” he told reporters. “We now have physical evidence that … Flight MH370 tragically ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.”
The debris was found about 2,500 miles from where investigators thought the plane could have crashed. Australian experts looking for the plane originally thought debris might first appear near Indonesia. Family members of those on MH370 — which disappeared on March 8, 2014 — had already been informed about the new information.
Razak added, “It is my hope that this confirmation, however tragic and painful, will at least bring certainty to the families and loved ones of the 239 people onboard MH370.”
France confirmed that the debris was from the missing flight and has asked Malaysia for more information from its investigation. Malaysia has not provided any additional data yet. A senior official at Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport told The Wall Street Journal, however, “We have nothing to hide.”
The Associated Press reports that this wing fragment might mean there are other pieces of the plane left to be found that haven’t yet reached the bottom of the ocean. “If one piece turns up, perhaps there’s a likelihood that others will as well,” a professor from the University of Queensland told the AP. “It’s strange to think you’d find one part that floated and nothing else.”