3 Reasons The Airplane Wing Found Off Reunion Island Might Actually Not Be From Flight MH370

On Wednesday, airplane debris was discovered on the coast of the French island Réunion, slightly east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, and it's possible that it belongs to the mysterious Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that's been missing for more than a year. Aviation experts believe the wing that washed up on the shore belongs to a Boeing 777 and has been in the water for about a year, which would match MH370 perfectly. However, there's no definitive answer yet as to whether or not it actually came from the infamous plane, and there are multiple reasons the wing might not be from flight MH370.

A member of the French air force in Réunion told CNN, "It is way too soon to say whether or not it is MH370. We just found the debris this morning," but people around the world are already speculating. The plane piece discovered is thought to be a flaperon, the part of the wing that controls the roll and bank of an aircraft. Matching the wing part to MH370 should be relatively simple since the serial numbers on plane parts can be traced back to their original aircraft.

While there are (very) valid reasons to believe the wing belongs to MH370, here are three reasons why it might not.

There Were Other Crashes In The Area

There are two other missing planes that the wing flap could have originated from — a Yemenia Airways Airbus A310-300 jet crashed off the coast of Comoros, an island on the other side of Madagascar, in 2009, leaving only one survivor, and another plane crashed near Réunion in 2006. Although it's believed to be a Boeing 777 wing, the part found could potentially belong to either of those planes.

Réunion Is Really Far From MH370's Path

The island where the newly discovered airplane wing washed up is 3,800 miles away from Kuala Lumpur, where MH370 departed, and the spot it was last seen over was in southern Vietnam. If it belongs to the Malaysia Airlines plane, it traveled really far in the Indian Ocean.

The Wing Looks Painted

CNN's safety analyst, David Soucie, pointed out that in photos the wing part found on Réunion looks like it's coated in white paint, while a Boeing 777 wing would be coated in zinc chromate. However, Soucie said that the part could be covered in something from the ocean, since it would have been in the water for more than a year.

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