Two senior Australian officials expressed increasing confidence on Friday that debris found on a remote French island this week came from the Malaysian jet that disappeared last year with 239 people aboard, though they cautioned that final confirmation would not come from Australia.
The debris found on Wednesday on the island of Réunion off the coast of Madagascar, apparently a piece of a wing, was to be shipped to France for analysis. But the Australian officials said photographic evidence alone might be enough to establish that it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished on March 8, 2014, during a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital.
“The photographs available are of such detail that it may be possible to make an identification without further physical identification, but that will be a matter for the French and the Malaysian authorities,” Warren Truss, Australia’s deputy prime minister, said at a news conference on Friday.
Martin Dolan, who has led the team searching for wreckage from Flight 370, a Boeing 777, on the seabed off the coast of Western Australia, said that in addition to detailed photographs of the debris, investigators had a great deal of information about the part it is believed to be and the numbers that would be inscribed on it.
“So there is a lot that can be done on what this is,” Mr. Dolan, head of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said in an interview. “If it is, as seems most probable, a very specific trailing-edge device, something on the back part of a wing, then it looks very much like a thing called a flaperon, and flaperons are only on 777 aircraft.”
SOURCE: MICHELLE INNIS
The New York Times