A detailed oceanographic map has surfaced which predicted 12 months ago that any debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 could wash up exactly where a large piece of aircraft wing has been discovered on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
The map was prepared a year ago and predicted the various possible paths of debris if MH370 did indeed crash into the water in the so-called “Southern Corridor”, the vast area of the Indian Ocean that became the focus of international search efforts in the months after the plane disappeared.
Charitha Pattiaratchi, Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of Western Australia, said today that the discovery of the “flaperon” – a hybrid between an aileron and a flap – fit exactly with his models for debris distribution.
The map shows where the debris would spread do over various time periods, and Reunion Island is exactly at the end point where the model says debris would travel to after 18 months. It is now 16 and a half months since the plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China. It had 239 passengers and crew on board.
Here’s how the model looks:
“It makes sense based on some of the modelling we did 12 months ago, that some time with 18 to 24 months after [the crash] this could be the area the debris would have ended up in,” Prof Pattiaratchi told The Guardian.
Malaysia’s deputy transport minister said today: “It is almost certain that the flaperon is from a Boeing 777 aircraft. Our chief investigator here told me this.”
The disappearance of MH370 remains the greatest mystery in aviation history. The search has been progressively scaled back this year, following an Australian-led search of a previously unmapped area more than 1.1 million square kilometres in size.
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