Tuesday 6 December 2016

MH370 search: Wing flap arrives at French military testing facility for analysis

Published 01/08/2015 | 20:27

Johnny Begue (R), who found plane debris Wednesday on this beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, walks with his friend Andre Tevane, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Stringer
Johnny Begue (R), who found plane debris Wednesday on this beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, walks with his friend Andre Tevane, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Stringer
A volunteer of the "3 E" (Eastern Environnement and Economy) association, usually in charge of costal cleaning, who was with other volunteers who found a plane debris and a piece from a luggage on July 29, shows a plastic bottle of stain remover for laundry with Indonesian writing, produced in Jakarta, Indonesia, that was found on July 31 during search for more potential plane debris and items on the shore in Saint-Andre, Reunion Island, on July 31, 2015. Australia on July 31 said it was confident the search for MH370 was being conducted in the right area with aircraft wreckage being washed to La Reunion consistent with the zone they are scouring. AFP PHOTO / IMAZ PRESS REUNION / OUISSEM GOMBRA Ouissem Gombra/AFP/Getty Images
Details are seen for a liquid soap container label, marked Jakarta - Indonesia, that was part of newly-discovered debris washed onto the beach at Saint-Andre on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, July 31, 2015. A flaperon, which help pilots control an aircraft in flight, was found Wednesday on this same beach. French authorities are studying a piece of plane debris found on Reunion Island to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared without a trace 16 months ago with 239 passengers and crew on board. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Prisca Bigot TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
General view of the beach where a large piece of plane debris was found on Wednesday in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Stringer
Johnny Begue (R), who found plane debris on Wednesday at the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, walks with his friend Andre Tevane, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Stringer
A view shows the Direction generale de l'armement (DGA) offices, where the France's BEA crash investigation agency will verify the plane debris found on Reunion Island, in Balma near Toulouse, France, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
A view shows the Direction generale de l'armement (DGA) offices, where the France's BEA crash investigation agency will verify the plane debris found on Reunion Island, in Balma near Toulouse, France, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
A view shows the Direction generale de l'armement (DGA) offices, where the France's BEA crash investigation agency will verify the plane debris found on Reunion Island, in Balma near Toulouse, France, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
General view of the beach where a large piece of plane debris was found on Wednesday in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Prisca Bigot

A wing flap suspected to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has arrived at a French military testing facility where it will be analysed by experts.

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A truck brought the roughly 8ft (2.44m) component known as a flaperon to the DGA TA aeronautical testing site near Toulouse, accompanied by police motorcycles and a police car.

French aviation experts will try to establish whether the wreckage that was found on the Indian Ocean island Reunion was part of the Boeing 777 which disappeared on March 8 2014, with 239 people on board.

The team, including a legal expert, will start their inquiry on Wednesday, according to the Paris prosecutor's office.

On Monday, an investigating judge will meet Malaysian authorities and representatives of the French aviation investigative agency, known as the BEA, according to a statement.

Air safety investigators, including one from Boeing, have identified the component as a flaperon from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing, a US official said.

Flight MH370 is the only missing 777.

Under a microscope and expert eyes, the wing fragment that washed up on the beach of the volcanic island could yield clues not just to its path through the Indian Ocean, but also to what happened to the plane.

Analysts at the French aviation laboratory hope to glean details from metal stress to see what caused the flap to break off, spot explosive or other chemical traces, and study the sea life that made its home on the wing to pinpoint where it came from.

Even if the piece is confirmed to be wreckage from Flight MH370, there is no guarantee that investigators can find the plane's vital black box recorders or other debris. A multinational search effort has so far come up empty. 

Press Association

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