Washed-up luggage could hold key to MH370's fate

Remnants of a battered suitcase have been sent to France from Réunion for analysis.

Investigators into the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now have further evidence that could be the first proof it crashed into the Indian Ocean.

The remnants of a battered suitcase, also washed up on the French island of Réunion, have been sent to Toulouse along with debris believed to be a flaperon from the wing of a Boeing 777.

A flaperon is a control function at the rear of the wing. Both items are being analysed at an aeronautical test centre associated with the French military.

Malaysia has sent investigative teams to both Toulouse and to Réunion while Prime Minister Najib Razak is confident the evidence could offer the explanation.

“The location is consistent with the drift analysis provided to the Malaysian investigation team, which showed a route from the southern Indian Ocean to Africa,” he says.

All 239 passengers and crew died when the Boeing 777 departed from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early on the morning of March 8, 2014.

The most likely theory is that one of the pilots or another crew member took control of the aircraft and deliberately flew it off course until crashing it or running out of fuel.

Ocean currents studied
In Australia, searchers are analysing ocean currents that will provide more clues to the crash area if the debris turns out to be from Flight MH370.

Oceanographers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation helped model ocean currents for search authorities last year during an extensive air and sea search.

The agency believes that if the jet did crash near the current search area, winds would have initially taken debris eastward, but that the seasonal cycle would have taken most of the wreckage north and west.

Réunion, off the coast of Madagascar, is on the western extremities of these currents .

The lack of other crashes in the region that could have led to wreckage washing up in that part of the Indian Ocean has also bolstered speculation.

It could potentially put an end to theories that the plane flew in an entirely different direction than south into the Indian Ocean.

Search teams have failed to find any confirmed trace of the aircraft in a 60,000sq m zone off the coast of Western Australia. It was recently expanded to up to 120,000sq m.

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