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Possible MH370 debris sighting could signal the end of a long search

A new surveillance aircraft will play an important role in maritime protection for Australia."

It was over a year ago on 8 March that Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared while on a seemingly routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Boeing 777 was carrying 239 passengers, including two Australians, when it veered off course and lost contact.

Australia was quick to respond, alongside many other nations, with aircraft and vessels dispatched to the region to begin what would become a massive search. Australia served as the base of operations for the hunt, with WA acting as a staging area, while Chinese, British, American, New Zealand, Malaysian and other forces combed the seas in an ever-changing search area.

As the search drew on and there was still no sign of a black box or even any wreckage, the search aircraft were sent back to their respective countries, and only specialist vessels remained in the area to survey the sea floor. Now, it looks like the search could be over.

A Reunion sighting

At end of July, a flaperon from a Boeing 777 was found washed up on the beach of Reunion Island, which is located around 4,000km from the current search area. Officials were quick to confirm that the debris was indeed from a Boeing aircraft, although France has yet to confirm whether it originated from MH370.

Given that no other 777 aircraft are currently missing, and the debris is likely to have drifted from the search area, there's a good chance that this is a piece of the plane. It's going to be analysed in Toulouse, France, where experts will be able to identify the origin through serial numbers and other identifying marks.

"This has been verified by French authorities together with aircraft manufacturer Boeing," explained Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

While they won't be able to identify a large amount of information about the crash itself, other evidence on the flaperon could possibly show the rate of descent and impact speed.

"It really is just confirming that the plane went down," former Air Accidents Investigation Branch investigator Anne Evans explained to The Guardian.

Other materials appear have turned up, including what could be a portion of the door. The lack of certainty is a testament to just how difficult it is to identify the many components of a massive airliner, especially one that crashed into the ocean over a year ago.

The search continues

While the sighting of this flaperon could finally put many conspiracy theories to rest, and families at ease, the search for more information powers on.

MH370 was a large plane, and there is certainly more to be found that will help to paint a bigger picture of the disaster. Recovering the black box flight recorder is still a primary objective, but without any batteries to transmit a signal, there's little chance of finding the hardware at the bottom of the ocean.

The search for MH370 will, for now at least, continue, given the need to find a definite answer for what caused the crash. While more debris is yet to be found, and will certainly help to paint a clearer picture, the families of the victims may soon have some form of closure.

Over a year after the disappearance, it looks like the search for MH370 could finally be coming to a close.

Interconnect Systems has a comprehensive background in aerospace and defence engineering, being an industry leader for more than 20 years. It provides electrical interconnect products and solutions, including cable and wire harness manufacture. For more information on the best backshells and cable harness solutions, contact Interconnect Systems today on 1800 812 214 FREE.

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