French officials have just confirmed that the flaperon that washed up on the Indian Ocean island of La Réunion in late July is “certainly” from MH370. Phew. That mystery was getting out of hand.
For those who haven’t been following the saga, a brief bit of background: Late last month, a wing segment from a Boeing 777 (called a flaperon) washed up on the shore of Réunion Island. Officials immediately suspected it was the piece of debris from Malaysian Airlines flight 370, which went missing in March 2014. But shortly after the Malaysian Prime Minister announced as much, French officials countered his statement — insisting that further investigation was needed to confirm the wing segment’s identity.
That investigation has dragged on for weeks, due to the absence of a telltale ID plate on the inboard edge of the flaperon. (And because Europe likes to go on vacation in August.) Meanwhile, theories on the origin of the flaperon have predictably been spiralling out of control on the internet, with people obsessing over such minutia as the distribution of goose barnacles.
But today the Paris prosecutor’s office released an official statement confirming that the flaperon is definitely, certainly from MH370. According to the BBC, a technician from Airbus Defence and Space in Spain, which made the part for Boeing, was able to formally link one of the three numbers found on the flaperon to MH370. Official confirmation offers the families of the disaster victims — who have rightly been outraged over the discrepancy between the statements made by French and Malaysian officials — their first real bit of closure.