Aviation experts, U.S. investigators, Malaysian officials, Malaysia Airlines and the Australian government were convinced that the debris found washed up Wednesday on the shore of Reunion Island could possibly belong to the missing MH370. But relatives of passengers of the doomed flight believed otherwise. They claimed that everything is staged to end the search for the missing plane.
It is to be recalled that late last year, an officer from Malaysia Airlines said the plane would be declared lost soon. In March of 2015, Australian prime minister hinted that the search for plane will be scaled back due to financial constraint. In the same month, Chief Commissioner of Australian Transport Safety Bureau was confident that the plane will be found within the year. Now here comes news of possible MH370 debris finally being found.
MH370 debris in Reunion Island is not the missing plane
Speaking with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, U.S. and French officials said they have high confidence that the debris found west of Indian Ocean is a part of the lost Boeing 777. The officials identified the debris as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of the plane. The French government had already sent aviation experts to validate the debris. Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the Malaysian Government has also sent experts to examine the debris.
Elsewhere, the discovery is making headlines. Everybody is hopeful but for the very people who should be happy about the news.
Speaking with The Guardian in Beijing, Cheng Liping, wife of Jacky Chan’s stuntman who was aboard the doom plane, said she personally does not believe that it is MH370.
“I don’t believe that they have found it. It’s been more than a year. If they were able to find it they would have already found it. Why now and why just a small piece of debris,” she said.
“Since I don’t believe it, I’m not thinking too much about it and the news has not affected my mood much,” added Cheng.
Cheng said that the discovery of the alleged MH370 debris is a desperate attempt to deceive the relatives who persistently believe that there is a bigger truth behind the MH370 mystery.
“They [the governments and Malaysian Airlines] might want to distract us and to bring the whole thing to an end with this small find.”
Jack Song, whose sister is aboard plane, does not believe it either. “Nobody believes it. If it belongs to 370, where are the other things like the seats, the cargo?”
Other relatives who have spoken with The Guardian are mystified as to why nobody from Malaysia Airlines or the Malaysian government contacted them to inform them of this supposed significant update.
“I just heard that some of the debris was found yesterday but nobody knows whether it is the lost MH370 or not. This has happened several times before. I just want to wait for the final announcement by the government, by Malaysia Airlines, by the officials,” Steve Wang said.
(Read more: MH370 Search May Be Called Off Soon)
Not interested in debris because bigger questions linger
Speaking with The New Zealand Herald, Sara Weeks, a sister of Paul Weeks who was aboard the missing MH370, said if the debris found indeed belong to MH370, still their questions linger – why and what happened?
“In most respects [I’m hopeful], at least if it’s confirmed as a piece of the plane, then we can go on to the next stage which is still pretty similar to where we were before; what happened? Where’s the rest of the plane? And where’s my brother?”
Danica, wife of Paul, said she would have to wait out.
“I’m just not ready to comment on anything yet it’s just too early to call. Until we know; there’s been so many red herrings, the pings, the oil [slick], the debris on the west coast, [there’s] just been so many that I’m not willing to speak about it until we know for sure that it’s actually from the plane,” she said.
“I could say everything … it could be that it could be this, that’s what it’s always been, so I just want to wait and see if it is a piece of a plane.”
(Read more: MH370 Plane Will Be Located – Dolan)
Ruling out theories
One of the undying theories about the missing MH370 is that it is hijacked by terrorists, brought to some secluded place, and is being held off for ransom that the involved governments are not willing to pay. Aviation safety expert from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board told AP that the debris found, if to be that of MH370, would put a stop to this speculation.
The debris “just confirms that the airplane is in the water and hasn’t been hijacked to some remote place and is waiting to be used for some other purpose,” he said.
CNN analysts meanwhile were one in saying that validation of the debris is as easy as counting 1-2-3. The serial numbers which could be found in the debris can be traced back to the exact aircraft, CNN aviation expert, Les Abend, said.
CNN safety analyst David Soucie said three elements are there that are consistent with MH370.
“This is from a sudden impact, it looks like to me,” Soucie said. A seal on top of the debris is also “consistent with what I would see on an inside flap on a triple 7,” and the barnacles now present on the debris confirmed that the debris has been under water for as long as more than one year.
“If it is a part from a triple 7, we can be fairly confident it is from 370 because there just haven’t been that many triple 7 crashes and there haven’t been any in this area,” said CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo.
In a statement obtained by The Telegraph, Martin Dolan, the chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said that “the drift models we have are that it is possible, not probable, that debris would wash ashore at Réunion.”
The Australian government had also released its official statement: “The Australian Government is aware that wreckage, which appears to be from an aircraft, has been found on La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar. In the event that the wreckage is identified as being from MH 370 on La Reunion Island, it would be consistent with other analysis and modelling that the resting place of the aircraft is in the southern Indian Ocean.”