An expert in ocean circulation tells NPR's Geoff Brumfiel that it is "highly likely" that currents in the Indian Ocean could have carried debris from the presumed crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 off Australia's west coast to Reunion Island near Madagascar.
"I think it is very likely that it's from Flight 370," says Arnold L. Gordon of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "I think that once that's confirmed, one could use model output to work your way back to where it came from, where it was in March 2014," at the time the plane disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for what was to have been a flight to Beijing.
Even so, Gordon says that the uncertainties in the models and the chaos inherent in ocean eddies isn't likely to define the crash site any more precisely than has already been worked out by search teams. His remarks follow the discovery of a barnacle-encrusted piece of aircraft debris on the French island off the southeast coast of Africa. The wreckage appears to be a piece of a wing from a commercial airliner, possibly a Boeing 777 like MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard — seemingly without a trace.
The Wall Street Journal quotes David Griffin, a physical oceanographer at Australia's national science agency, as saying that while "debris goes many places" in the ocean, the seasonal cycle would have taken most of the wreckage north and west, "possibly right across the Indian [Ocean] by now." Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at Australia's James Cook University, is quoted by The Associated Press as saying there is precedent for large objects traveling across the vast Indian Ocean. Beaman notes that after a man fell overboard from his boat off Western Australia last year, the boat was found eight months later west of Madagascar.
A lawyer contacted the authorities after discovering two Malaysian and one Taiwanese water bottles while a walk along the beach at the weekend. Today he handed them into police who revealed the team leading the official inquiry into the MH370 hunt - launched after part of an airliner's wing was dramatically discovered on same island in the Indian Ocean last week - was looking into the find.
The lawyer, Philippe Creissen, who lives close to the beach where the plane part was found, said: “I walk along this beach all the time and 99 per cent of the debris that’s here comes from Reunion. The Malaysian government revealed today the "flaperon" debris, discovered by beach cleaners last Wednesday, was from a Boeing 777, the same plane type which disappeared in March last year.
That has added to belief that it is flight MH370, although tests are still being carried out to confirm this. Australia has been leading a search across the Indian Ocean since last year with ships using high-tech equipment to look underwater for the plane.
It was also claimed today that residents leaving on the island seemed had burnt debris potentially from the stricken flight weeks ago. There have also been reports of a plane door being found 15 miles away from where the wing part was discovered. However, police have refused to comment on that item and the Malaysian government said it may actually be part of a ladder.
The high-profile disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 remains a mystery — but the recent discovery of a possible wing part points to an ocean landing, raising hopes for a resolution. "It would be unusual to have only one piece of an airplane floating around on the surface. There must be other pieces out there," said David Gallo, the director of special projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
The piece, possibly from the wing of the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared almost 500 days ago, made its way to the shores of RéunionIsland, a French island in the Indian Ocean that lies east of Madagascar. [Flight 370: Photos of the Search for Missing Malaysian Plane]
The part, called a flaperon, attaches to the backside of a jetliner's wing and expands and contracts during takeoff and landing. The flaperon recovery spurred an anxious search on RéunionIsland for more debris, but aside from some false leads, including a report of a domestic aircraft ladder, no other parts have yet been identified, according to officials.
The flaperon, identified as one from the wing of a Boeing 777-200 – the same plane as MH370, spotted on July 29, was found more than 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers) from where the initial search for the doomed MH370 flight occurred in the Indian Ocean. But researchers can map currents and other ocean processes to trace the debris' path back to its origin — possibly turning up even more wreckage. Biology has a role as well, as scientists can look at organisms growing on the metal piece to narrow down their search.
This mysterious debris washed up in the Maldives has been linked to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The incredible report comes after investigators confirmed wreckage on the Reunion Island came from the ill-fated Boeing 777.
In the past two months FOUR islands in the Maldives have reported strange plane-like objects washing up. According to local news site Haveeru, items were first reported last month on Banya Tree Vabbinfaru where resort employees claimed that plane debris was found on the beach of North Male Atoll.
Then two more islands in Baa Atoll and one in Noonu Atoll made similar claims now being investigated. Pictures of metal found near the Banyan Tree resort on the Vabbinfaru island have been linked to the wing part that washed up 2,000 miles away on the Reunion Island in July. Maldives resident Mohamed Wafir posted the original photographs to Facebook, (see below) claiming that they were found on May 31.
One airline employee, James Hardy, said the potential find "changes everything" about the investigation. He told the Before It's News website: "I and my friends who also work in aviation who have seen these photos all believe they appear to be aircraft parts, due to the honeycomb construction." And Mr Hardy added: "If flown low and slow there was more than enough fuel to reach the Maldives."
All 224 people aboard a Russian airliner were killed early Saturday when the Airbus A321 crashed in Egypt's Sinai peninsula shortly after takeoff from a popular Red Sea resort town, officials say. The Metrojet flight, carrying 217 passengers and seven crewmembers, was en route from Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt to St. Petersburg when it dropped off radar screens 23 minutes into the flight.
It is believed to be the deadliest air accident in the history of Russian aviation, surpassing a 1985 disaster in Uzbekistan in which 200 people died, the Russian-run news agency RIA says.
"Unfortunately, all passengers of flight 7K9268 Sharm el-Sheikh-Petersburg were killed," The Russian embassy in Cairo said, in Russian, on Twitter. "We express our condolences to the family and friends."