On Wednesday afternoon, it was confirmed that the plane debris that washed up on the shores of Réunion Island last week is in fact from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. The wing piece was discovered by a beach cleaner, and was soon after reported to investigators, who have since been looking into its origin. While this discovery has been confirmed to be a flaperon from MH370, searchers are still very much on the lookout for more debris and other material links to the flight. As the search continues, the world is eager to know what of MH370 will be discovered next, and what it might tell us about what exactly happened to the flight before it went missing.
The search for MH370 debris will continue on Réunion, as well as in the Indian Ocean west of Australia, where the majority of the search had been happening until the flaperon was discovered last week. Investigators have determined that debris could still possibly be found in either of these locations. According to the Associated Press, a statement from Malaysian Airlines included insights into their expectations for the search now the flaperon has been positively identified as belonging to MH370. A portion of the statement noted that the ID "is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370. We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery."
So far, there hasn't been any speculation about what specifically the crews are expecting or hoping to find, but it does appear clear that they intend to uncover additional pieces of the wreckage. Investigations for other flights that have crashed over the ocean sometimes yield a great deal of debris, but there doesn't seem to be a clear pattern in what search crews find, or even when it is found.
Air France flight AF477 crashed in June 2009 on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, and remnants were not found until nearly two years later. In this case, quite a bit of refuse was uncovered all in one location. Searchers found plane wheels, engines, and bodies of the crash victims. In another recent ocean crash, searchers for remains of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 in 2014 were able to recover 106 of 162 bodies, and several plane components, including black box records, after about a yearlong search.
Only time will tell what if any other debris will turn up from MH370. Malaysian Airlines appears confident that more discoveries will be made, and with searches still ongoing in at least two locations, the recent flaperon discovery seems to have increased confidence that there is still more to find and learn from MH370.