French investigators confirm that plane fragment is from flight MH370
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The wreckage of the aircraft recovered on the island of La Reunion in early August belongs to the Boeing 777 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370,, which disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board along the route linking Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. This is according to French investigators, who examined the wreckage (a flaperon, cross between flap and aileron) in a specialized center near Toulouse checking the serial number. "Today it is possible to establish - said the prosecutor - that the flaperon [...] corresponds to that of flight MH370."
Prior to this the Malaysian authorities had already announced the aircraft wreckage was that of the disappeared plane, but investigators have always shown caution pending further investigation. Even the relatives of the passengers never believed all of Kuala Lumpur’s statements, accusing the government of hiding the truth.
Moreover, even the discovery of the fragment has failed to provide a breakthrough in the investigation and the case remains a mystery. There are still no objective and specific elements to establish the fate of the aircraft and its occupants with certainty.
In Beijing Cheng Liping, the wife of a passenger, says she is still waiting to see her husband's body and the discovery of the black box, before she can really believe in the plane crash. "The fact that they found a small fragment - she adds - is of little use for us to understand what really happened to the plane."
The island of Reunion, east of the coast of Madagascar, where the flaperon was found, is more than 5 thousand kilometers from the search area, which focused for a long time off the west coast of Australia.
The Boeing 777-200 disappeared from radar screen on 8 March 2014 over the sea south of Vietnam. It carried 239 people aboard, including 12 crewmembers. There were 153 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, but also some Australians, Europeans and Americans.
Rumours and speculation as to what happened to the aircraft have had a field day in the past few months: why the plane changed course from its original destination, northbound to Beijing, to the Indian Ocean; and why the jet’s transponder, which allows the ground to track the plane, was shut off.
Investigators have examined a number of possibilities, ranging from espionage to deliberate crash by the pilots, from an accident to terrorism (but so far, no one has claimed any responsibility).
Today the ministers of Australia, China and Malaysia meet in Canberra to discuss the consequences of the discovery of the flaperons and further steps to shed light on the tragedy.