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FLT 370 – Still A Mystery

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(File photo): Renowned Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's creation at Puri beach asks `Where is (Malaysian plane) MH370 ?`

It is also surprising that with so many floatable items and parts on the plane nothing came up to the surface over all these months. Although impossible it was almost as if the aircraft sank like a ship with its hull intact….writes Bikram Vohra

(File photo): Renowned Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's creation at Puri beach asks `Where is (Malaysian plane) MH370 ?`
(File photo): Renowned Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik’s creation at Puri beach asks `Where is (Malaysian plane) MH370 ?`

The discovery of the 6 ft long flaperon washed up on the coast of Reunion Island does not solve the mystery behind the disappearance of MH Flight 370 some sixteen months ago.

What it does do is provide evidence that the aircraft is not hidden away on some remote strip and it also gives sad closure to the relatives that it is unlikely there are survivors held captive somewhere. Those theories will end but we are still not aware of what happened and over these months this piece of the wing most likely from this aircraft could have floated thousands of nautical miles from where the aircraft went down.

Although the study of ocean currents is a pretty advanced and sophisticated science I am not sure if you can track back the buffeting over sixteen months. Also, the wreckage could have come loose at a later stage through corrosion in salt water, simple deterioration or dislodged by some underwater movement. No one can second guess how and when it came to the surface and was washed ashore.

In one of the most ‘probable’ theories after the main assumption that it was commandeered and forced to go off course is that there was a catastrophic mechanical failure. In that case if the flaperon had fallen off the plane before it hit terrain then its purpose as an indicator of where the aircraft finally impacted is reduced considerably.

One does have to commend the Australians for showing so much conviction and dedication in continuing a search that most of the world has forgotten. They interpret this piece of wreckage as fair proof that the large part of the aircraft is in a 50,000 square kilometre area and that is not easy to search.

It is also surprising that with so many floatable items and parts on the plane nothing came up to the surface over all these months. Although impossible it was almost as if the aircraft sank like a ship with its hull intact. Under the pressure of the ocean it should have crumpled like tin and loose items risen to the top. The odds that some debris would have been spotted or been pinged on radar by shipping were very strong but it did not happen.

Just the one piece of wing which is helpful without our really knowing why except that once checked it will prove that the plane is somewhere in the water from Reunion to Australia. It is hoped that it shrinks the search area but there is no indication of that until the examination in France gives some idea of cause; from fire to explosive residue to any other failure.

Much of these waters have been searched extensively, especially in the first days following the incident on March 8 with 239 people on board. Searching them again with renewed vigour because now it is clear the aircraft is there might finally produce an answer to where it lies. But what happened to Flight 370 and the complete lack of information from the flight deck to Ground Control in the final minutes is something we may never know.

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