Why Would MH370 Wash Up Near Madagascar? There Are No Answers Yet, But Theories Abound

Over a year after the plane went missing, a possible piece of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been found on the coast of the French Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, over 3,000 miles from where the plane was last spotted on radar. A wing fragment that experts say could be from the plane washed ashore on July 29 on the island, which is near Madagascar. Is it really from the tragic flight? And if so, how did it get there? So far, there are no answers as to why MH370 would have washed up there — but there are some theories.

MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, seemingly without a trace. It fell off radar somewhere off the Indonesian coast during a flight from Kuala Lampur, Indonesia to Beijing, China. Although its 227 passengers and 12 crew members have since been declared legally dead, no one has yet figured out what happened to the plane. And despite a multinational search effort, no part of the aircraft has been recovered — at least, possibly, until now.

According to expert Xavier Tytelman, who was shown photos of what washed ashore on Reunion, the debris — which appears to be a wing flap — likely came from a Boeing 777, the same plane model as MH370. It has probably been in the water around a year, which is once again consistent with the downed flight.

"We can't say for certainty, but we do think there is a chance that this is it," Tytelman told The Telegraph.

So how did the wing wind up on the other side of the Indian Ocean? Well, there are a few possible explanations.

1. The Currents Carried It There

The currents in the Indian Ocean do flow west in a direction likely to carry debris towards Reunion. And if this is indeed part of the plane, we might be able to use information about the currents to calculate where exactly the plane might have gone down, as well as where to look for other pieces.

2. The Plane Flew Way, Way West

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The plane flying far enough west to reach Madagascar is a much less likely possibility. However, there were all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories about where MH370 might have gone after it went off radar, so it's still more likely than you might think. When you compare it to the prospect of alien abduction, it doesn't seem that crazy to assume that the plane might have flown much further west than expected. If this was in fact the case, it might explain how the wing flap was found thousands of miles from its last known location.

3. This Isn't From MH370 After All

YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

The list of Boeing 777 planes that crashed in the Indian Ocean about a year ago isn't all that long. The ocean is vast and mysterious, though. It's possible that this debris isn't from MH370 at all, but rather is from some other plane — or not a wing flap at all. After all, experts haven't had the chance to examine it in person yet, and nothing has been confirmed.

4. And There Are Always the Conspiracy Theories

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Did the aliens send part of the plane back to mess with us? Is the U.S. government covering up the fact that they are secretly harboring the plane? Did the "secret weapon" that felled the plane launch the debris so far and wide that it wound up thousands of miles away?

I mean, my money is still with the currents, but I'm sure the conspiracy theorists are still at it.

Images: Getty Images (4)