Flight MH370: Malaysian PM confirms debris is from missing B777
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has confirmed the plane debris that washed ashore on Réunion island is part of the Malaysia Airlines jet that went missing over a year ago.
The confirmation is the first concrete evidence that the Boeing 777 aircraft crashed into the Indian Ocean after being flown off course on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Mr Najib announced the news at a media conference in Kuala Lumpur.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Réunion Island is indeed from MH370,” Mr. Najib said.
“The government of Malaysia is committed to do everything within our means to find out what happened.”
The debris – said to be a flaperon from the rear of a wing – was taken from Réunion to France for examination.
Malaysia Airlines has informed the families and relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on Flight 370 of the findings of the experts.
“This is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370. We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery,” the airline said.
In Paris, prosecutor Serge Mackowiak, who is leading a French criminal investigation, confirmed the wing fragment was from a Boeing 777 but was not as definitive as the Malaysian prime minister.
He said initial tests showed there were "very strong indications" that it was from flight MH370. But he said confirmation would only come after further tests on the fragment, which would begin on Thursday.
"[Investigators] will try to do it as soon as possible in order to provide total and reliable information to the family of victims, who are on our minds at the moment," he said.
End to conspiracy theories
While the confirmation doesn’t provide clues of where the plane crashed, it does put to rest conspiracy theories that it had been diverted to a desert island by hijackers or spirited off to a foreign country for use as some sort of political bargaining chip.
Investigators have used satellite echoes and other means to surmise that it flew to a remote area well off the western coast of Australia before crashing into the sea.
The search largely has been shut down recently due to winter weather but will resume in the spring with the benefit of knowledge from the wing fragment.
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