Malaysian Leader: Plane Debris From Missing Flight MH 370 - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Malaysian Leader: Plane Debris From Missing Flight MH 370

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French gendarmes and police stand near a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. French gendarmes and police stand near a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015.
Map shows the currents between where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went off the radar and where the debris was found CBS NEWS Map shows the currents between where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went off the radar and where the debris was found CBS NEWS

Malaysia's prime minister said Wednesday that an airplane wing fragment discovered last week came from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished more than a year ago with 239 people aboard.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts has conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris ... is indeed MH370," Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters.

Intact and encrusted with barnacles, the metal piece washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion and was sent to France for analysis.

The missing Boeing 777 disappeared after veering far off its set northerly course from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Beijing.

Malaysian military radar last confirmed MH370 over the Strait of Malacca. Highly technical efforts to extrapolate the jet's final hours before it would have run out of fuel gave force to the theory that it went down somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.

No one is certain why the plane deviated so far from its planned route.

The French agency that investigates air crashes, known as the BEA, confirmed the inquiry was beginning Wednesday. Experts from Boeing were also expected in the southern French town of Balma.

Analysts have said a close look at the metal of the part known as a "flaperon" could indicate what kind of stress the plane was under as it made impact. It won't fully solve the mystery of why the plane disappeared, nor will it help pinpoint where the plane crashed.

No other debris from MH370 is known to have washed up in the Indian Ocean.

A six-week air and sea search covering 1.8 million square miles of the southern Indian Ocean surface early last year failed to find any trace of the jet. The Reunion island debris would be consistent with the working theory that the jet went down in the Indian Ocean.

Authorities are working on a theory that the plane ran out of fuel, but some analysts argue that the apparent lack of damage to the piece of wreckage indicates a controlled landing on the ocean, with the jet sinking largely intact.

Another theory is that the jet plunged into the water vertically - high dive-style - snapping off both wings but preserving the fuselage. Yet another possibility, supported by a flight simulator, is that an out-of-fuel Boeing 777 would belly-flop heavily tail-first, disintegrating on impact.

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