MH370 Search Suspended As Experts Confirm Wing Part Found In Tanzania Is ‘Highly Likely’ From Doomed Plane

The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been suspended as the 46,300 square-mile search area has been fully scanned. Although no debris was found in the search area, pieces of the doomed airliner have reportedly washed up on the shores of Tanzania, Reunion Island, and Mozambique. In fact, as the MH370 search is suspended, aviation experts who have been examining a large piece of wing debris found on a Tanzanian beach have confirmed that the wing piece belongs to a Boeing 777 and is “highly likely” from the MH370 disaster.

The Daily Mail reports that experts studying the piece of wing debris are confident that the wreckage belongs to MH370 and are hoping to gain some insight into the presumed plane crash from the wing. The main thing that the researchers say they will be looking at regarding the large wing section is the wing flap. The experts will attempt to determine if the wing flap was down at the time the plane hit the water. Officials note that this could be a vital piece of information as it will tell researchers if someone was attempting to glide the plane into the water or if it came down in a dive.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Evidence Search map
Map showing possible locations of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 crash [Image via Jonathan Durgadoo, Siren Rühs, Arne Biastoch, GEOMAR]

The officials note that if the wing flap was deployed, it would suggest that a pilot was in control at the time of descent. However, if the wing flap was not deployed, it could indicate that the plane entered the water in a dive and was not being directed by pilots. The experts note that if the wing flap appears to have been “torn” from the rest of the wing, it would suggest it was deployed at the time the plane hit the water.

The wing flap, which also happens to be the largest piece of debris considered “highly likely” from the MH370 crash found thus far, is a key piece of evidence to help support or negate two of the main theories regarding the doomed flight. Investigators have believed that the plane may have run out of fuel while flying over the large ocean expanse after something went wrong and the plane went into autopilot mode. However, another theory suggests that the pilot may have deliberately flown the plane into the ocean in a controlled descent, which would make it harder to locate debris.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 pilot suicide flaperon debris
French police with the Reunion Island wing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. (Photo By Lucas Marie/Associated Press)

At this time, prior to analyzing the wing flap, the ATSB says they have “no evidence either way” whether someone was at the controls when the plane hit the water. Even with confirmation of a controlled or uncontrolled descent into the ocean, the ATSB says they cannot prove definitively what happened to MH370 unless they recover the plane’s black box. Sadly, for the loved ones of those lost in the MH370 disaster, the chance of finding the black box is getting smaller as time goes on.

With the debris found on Reunion Island and Tanzania, many oceanographers say that these findings suggest search teams have been looking in the wrong area the whole time. Instead, the ocean experts say that the current patterns would suggest that the plane actually went into the ocean further north than the area searched by the scanning teams.

To add further speculation to the cause of the MH370 crash, new evidence released by investigators revealed that the MH370 pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had plotted a course over the Indian Ocean in his home flight simulator in the weeks leading up to the disappearance. The simulation was reportedly the proposed course that MH370 took the day it presumably crashed into the ocean. Additionally, the pilot’s family and friends say he was distant and withdrawn in the weeks before the crash. Shah’s marriage was reportedly falling apart, and the pilot had refused marriage counseling in the weeks before the crash.

[Image via Zaharie Ahmad Shah/YouTube]