The remnants of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 have been found.
The plane is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. This follows wreckage of the plane being washed up onto the French island of La Reunion.
Residents on the island spotted suitcases and what they believed was a plane seat on a local beach in May, but at the time believed it was only rubbish. It wasn’t until a wing flap was found on 29 July that they began to question whether the debris was remains from the flight.
The wing flap was sent to a specialist laboratory in Toulouse, France, where testing determined that it is part of the missing plane. A plastic component resembling a plane window was also found on Saint-Denis, a beach on the island.
John Page, an aircraft design expert at the University of New South Wales, said the discovery of the debris last week lead him to conclude the Boeing 777 is likely to have broken up as it hit the water.
“While the main body of the plane is likely to have sunk, small lightweight parts attached to the wings and tail may have floated free,” he said.
The island of La Reunion is in the Indian Ocean, just east of Madagascar. Its positioning is completely off-course for MH370’s intended route.
For over a year, authorities have had no lead on what happened to the 239 people on board. For many families, this news brings mixed emotions.
Subithirai Nathan, whose mother was on board the plane, spoke of how many of the families are feeling. “Everybody is really anxious. No one is sleeping. Before this, a lot of us thought it would be good to find something and have closure. But in saying that, we would rather they’re still alive somewhere.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said he hoped the discovery would at least bring certainty to the victims’ families, saying the burden they had faced was “unspeakable”.