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MH370 Live Updates: Wreckage Found Off Reunion Island Could Be Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane

30/07/2015 10:34 | Updated 30 July 2015

Investigators from around the world are descending upon the tiny French island of Reunion after plane debris suspected to have come from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 washed ashore.

The Beijing-bound Boeing 777 disappeared from radar with all 239 souls on board on 8 March last year, an hour into its departure from Kuala Lumpur.

In summary:

  • The plane wreckage that was washed up on the African coast matches MH370.
  • Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said that they are treating the recent discovery "as a major lead".
  • A suitcase was found on Thursday morning near the wing piece on Reunion Island. It has been reported that the luggage has been "there for a day" - the same day the aircraft debris was spotted.
  • The debris is being taken to the French authorities in Toulouse for investigation by civil aviation investigators.
  • Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Razak, wrote in a personal blog that the families of those lost on the flight have had many "false alarms" before, but he hopes they will "find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace".

Here are live updates on the discovery.

31/07/2015 11:51 BST

Debris found is 'from a Boeing 777'

The debris found washed up on Reunion island has been confirmed as coming from a Boeing 777 - the same type of aircraft as the missing Malaysian flight.

"From the part number, it is confirmed that it is from a Boeing 777 aircraft. This information is from MAS (Malaysia Airlines). They have informed me," deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said.

31/07/2015 11:10 BST

Volcano on Reunion island erupts

Piton de la Fournaise, the volcano on Reunion island, has erupted, according to Reuters.

The volcano reportedly erupted at 10am local time.

31/07/2015 10:39 BST

Even more objects wash up near to where plane debris is found

A Chinese water bottle and an Indonesian cleaning product have washed up near to where the debris was discovered on Reunion Island, South Morning China Post reports.

Pictures of the smaller debris were posted by aviation website AirLive.net, which has been closely following the case since the jet disappeared.

It has not yet been confirmed whether these objects, including the suitcase, are linked to a plane.

water bottle

cleaning product

31/07/2015 10:09 BST

Volcanic eruption on Reunion island 'imminent and probable'

Scientists at the island's volcanic observatory warned that an eruption was "imminent and probable" after unusual seismic activity was recorded at Piton de la Fournaise.

It remains unclear, however, what effect the imminent eruption will have on the MH370 investigation.

Some news outlets say that Malaysian aviation experts who arrived on the island on Thursday had to be evacuated from the site almost immediately, news.com.au reports.

However, Australian officials have denied rumours a volcanic eruption could scupper the MH370 investigation, The Telegraph reports.

It is not yet clear how the impending eruption could affect the investigation.

31/07/2015 10:00 BST

Plane part to be flown to France on Saturday

Full analysis of the debris could take longer than originally expected.

The part, which is believed to be from a Boeing 777 – the same make as MH370, is expected to be flown to France for analysis on Saturday.

The Associated Press reports that the part could arrived in France on Saturday morning, according to the Paris prosecutor's office - meaning that families of those on flight MH370 could have to wait until next week for confirmation.

31/07/2015 09:52 BST

Debris on Reunion island is 'very likely' part of missing plane

The debris found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion is "very likely" to have come from missing flight MH370, an Australian official believes.

Martin Dolan, who heads Australian Transport Safety Bureau, told the BBC that the plane debris is "very likely" from the missing flight.

He also said that the operation was continuing "in the right place" in the southern part of the ocean.

Mr Dolan, leading Australia's search efforts, said that he was "increasingly confident that the wreckage... is associated with a 777 aircraft".

Mr Dolan said that there is no other recorded case of a flaperon being lost from a Boeing 777, adding: "We are confident we have the quality of the search to cover that area and find the missing aircraft."

mh370

30/07/2015 14:41 BST

Experts say that large objects can travel thousands of miles across the ocean

Experts say there is a precedence for large objects to travel large distances across region the Indian Ocean.

Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at Australia's James Cook University, told the Associated Press said that ocean currents could be analysed in order to determine where the plane entered the water. However, given the amount of time that has passed, and the amount of distance it may have travelled, this could be difficult.

Beaman added: "I don't think we should rule anything out, that's for sure."

Last year, a man lost his boat off the Western Australia coast after it overturned in rough seas.

Eight months later, the boat turned up off the French island of Mayotte, west of Madagascar - 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) from where it disappeared.

30/07/2015 13:46 BST

Doubt looms over whether debris is from MH370

David Cenciotti, the founder of TheAviationist.com, told The Telegraph that he remains unsure where the debris belongs to the missing flight.

He said: "I'm not so sure that those parts belong to the MH370 flight. The Malaysia Airlines B777 is not the only plane that went missing, and there are some mysteriously disappeared in Africa.

"It could even be one of those aircraft. I’m not saying that one is not the MH370, just that it’s weird that debris appeared over there."

30/07/2015 13:37 BST

Photo purports to show serial number from the debris

The Réunion news site Clicanoore has published a photograph showing the serial number 657BB. The number would link it to a Boeing 777.

30/07/2015 12:23 BST

Luggage found on Reunion coast 'had been there a day'

"The piece of luggage was there yesterday, but nobody really paid attention," Johnny Begue told Le Parisien.

Begue had been cleaning the coastline when the aircraft debris was spotted.

Holding the tattered case up, he said: "You can see how a zip from the suitcase is still attached to a piece of rigid fabric," he added, "it's just surreal, it makes me shudder."

Possible debris found from MH370

If the sea-crusted piece of debris is confirmed to belong to MH370, it could help investigators figure out how the aircraft crashed, but whether it will help search crews pinpoint the rest of the wreckage is unclear, given the complexity of the currents in the southern Indian Ocean and the time that has elapsed since the plane disappeared.

A massive multinational search effort of the southern Indian Ocean, the China Sea and the Gulf of Thailand has turned up no trace of the plane.

The last primary radar contact with Flight 370 placed its position over the Andaman Sea about 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of the Malaysian city of Penang. Reunion is about 5,600 kilometers (3,500 miles) southwest of Penang, and about 4,200 kilometers (2,600 miles) west of the current search area.

It was understood after the aircraft disappeared that if there was any floating debris from the plane, Indian Ocean currents would eventually bring it to the east coast of Africa, said aviation safety expert John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. But the debris is unlikely to provide much help in tracing the ocean currents back to the location of the main wreckage, he said.

"It's going to be hard to say with any certainty where the source of this was," he said. "It just confirms that the airplane is in the water and hasn't been hijacked to some remote place and is waiting to be used for some other purpose. ... We haven't lost any 777s anywhere else."

MH370: What we know for sure
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