MH370 Search Update: Reunion Island Discoveries Likely From Malaysia Airlines Plane, Experts Indicate

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared more than a year ago, and until now, there were no answers about what happened.

Now that some plane wreckage has been discovered on an island in the Indian Ocean, it seems that some semblance of answers and closure may finally be coming for those affected by the plane's disappearance.

As the Guardian details, some aircraft debris has been found on Réunion Island, a French island in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. Preliminary inspections indicate that the part does sync with the type of plane involved in the missing MH370 incident. The Wall Street Journal indicates that this specific piece of plane debris is about 10 feet by 5 feet, and is said to be a flaperon, part of an aircraft wing.

The plane debris is being taken to a military laboratory in Toulouse, France, to be examined. In addition, reports indicate that a badly damaged suitcase also washed up on the island near where the flaperon was found. As Journal de L'île de la Réunion details, a man named Johnny Begue and a crew were working on cleaning up the shoreline when the flaperon was discovered.

On Thursday, the suitcase was found in the same area. It is said to be a suitcase on wheels that has frayed cloth like a suitcase lining, netting, and rusted zippers. Photos shared by the Sydney Morning Herald reveal how severely damaged the suitcase is. That is being sent to France to be examined, as well.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014. An extensive search turned up nothing in terms of debris, and this discovery is more than 2,000 miles outside the current area of focus. Though French police have done a search along the rest of the island's coastline, so far, no further pieces of plane debris have been found.

This discovery does come a fair distance from the current search area southwest of Perth, Australia. However, given the currents and the time that has passed since the plane's disappearance, experts believe that the debris could have drifted significantly from where the plane went down. The suitcase and flaperon discovery, if they are indeed from MH370, could provide serious insight into where the search should be focused at this point.

Though the discovery has not been absolutely confirmed to be from the Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight, Reuters details that a Malaysian official says that it is almost certainly from the right type of plane. More answers will be coming in the days ahead as experts analyze the debris found, though it may be difficult to pin down much more in the way of specifics.

It seems that families are grappling with complex emotions over the discovery. Some were still holding out hope that the passengers were still somehow alive, and the plane debris discovery doesn't give much in the way of solid answers regarding what happened.

As Sarah Bajc, girlfriend of missing American passenger Philip Wood, told People, if the debris isn't from the plane, then the families still have a thread of hope. If the discoveries are from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, though, then the families hope there can finally be some answers regarding just what happened during that March, 2014, flight.

[Image via Maritime Executive]