Australia on Friday warned that the debris found in the Indian Ocean would not help pinpoint the final resting place of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, even if the remains do belong to the ill-fated plane.
Australia which is leading the search for the missing jet, cautioned that even if the piece is from MH370, the task of finding the plane remains enormous.
“Reverse modelling of ocean currents to determine the origins of an aircraft wing believed to be from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is almost impossible,” Warren Truss, Australia’s transport minister, said.
“After 16 months, the vagaries of the currents [make] reverse modelling almost impossible. So I don’t think it contributes a great deal as far as our knowledge of where the aircraft is located at the present time. However, the fact that wreckage is in Reunion Island ... is consistent with some of the modelling we have done in relation with current movements,” he added.
However, Truss conceded that the wreckage found on Reunion Island would be a major lead in solving the mystery regarding the plane.
Truss further said that any confirmation that the wreckage was from MH370 would also eliminate some of the conspiracy theories about its fate, and establish beyond any doubt that the aircraft was resting in the Indian Ocean.
However, Australian MH370 search chiefs played down any link between part of a bag discovered on the French island of La Reunion and the missing flight. The suitcase, which was found not far from the plane wreckage, had fuelled speculation that it may be from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
“From what we understand so far there’s much less reason to be positive about the suitcase. There’s no obvious indication it’s been in the water a long time and so on,” Martin Dolan, head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the hunt for the plane, said.
The plane wreckage found on Reunion Island is to be sent to a laboratory in France for forensic examination to determine whether it is from MH370, as part of a coordinated effort with authorities from Malaysia and Australia.
Aviation experts say a two-metre piece of debris washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, off the east coast of Africa, is very likely a flap from the trailing edge of the wing of a Boeing 777 airliner — the same type of plane as MH370.
The Malaysian Airlines flight, with 239 people on board, had disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.
The search had gone cold after planes and ships from more that 20 countries scoured the Indian Ocean for the aircraft.