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Malaysian MH370 plane debris sent to French lab

KUALA LUMPUR: A large piece of debris looking like part of a flaperon of a wing that is believed to be of the MH370 plane that was lost in flight from Malaysia last year found on the island of Reunion on Wednesday last has been brought over to France for examination. Stuffed with honeycomb, a flaperon is lightweight but large aluminium part.

Reunion, a French island, administratively called French Department of Reunion, is the outer-most overseas region of France, and lies about 200 km southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island, and 650 km east of Madagascar, close to south-eastern Africa, in the remote south-west Indian Ocean. This area now under the scan for the plane debris is opposite to the MH370 flight route of Kuala Lumpur-Hong Kong.

A defence ministry laboratory in Toulouse is studying the piece to find out if it is really a part of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 passengers and crew on board and disappeared, on March 8 2014.

Experts said the two-metre object found on a beach could be a piece of the Boeing wing called a flaperon. (What is a FLAPERON?) It is made of lightweight aluminium and internally filled with honeycomb so that it is light and serves the purpose of floating. It reduces the weight of an aircraft. It tilts while landing or takeoff to control the speed of the aircraft. It is a combination of flap and aileron, functionally, in some planes. (SEE a demo on Facebook)

A piece of a suitcase had also been found on the beach earlier. Pings from the plane were also reportedly picked up by satellite earlier.

The Malaysian authorities had early this year declared all passengers and crew on board as dead. Malaysia and Australia have repeatedly claimed that the plane veered off course and crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, off Madagascar, off Reunion. The plane had disappeared from radar somewhere between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.

However, the search for the missing plane has continued all along in the Indian Ocean ever since by Australian and other teams.

"Depending on where exactly MH370 went down, it is conceivable that debris would be set adrift in this current, which flows from east to west, and eventually make its way to Reunion Island, which is located right at the western fringe of the current," AccuWeather Meteorologist Anthony Sagliani said. (SEE: Complex Ocean Currents Carry Potential Debris From Missing MH370 Flight to Reunion Island)

August 2, 2015

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