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MH370 search: Debris may prove plane crashed over Indian Ocean, Malaysian official says

A barnacle-covered chunk of airplane wing arrived today at a defence laboratory near Toulouse, France, where experts hope to determine whether it's part of the missing MH370 Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared in March 2014.

'We are moving closer to solving the mystery of MH370,' says Malaysia's deputy transport minister

Wing flap suspected to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight arrived at a French military testing facility Saturday 1:52

A wing flap suspected to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 arrived at a French military testing facility Saturday, where it may help experts shed light on what happened to the plane and its passengers. 

French authorities have imposed extraordinary secrecy over the two-metre-long piece of wing, putting it under police protection in the hours before it left the French Indian Ocean island of Réunion en route to the laboratory, via Paris.

A truck brought the component, known as a flaperon, to the DGA TA aeronautical testing site near Toulouse, accompanied by police motorcycles and a police car.

'Solving the mystery'

French aviation experts will try to establish whether the wreckage was part of the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.

This could be the convincing evidence that MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean.- Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, Malaysian deputy transport minister

Air safety investigators, including one from Boeing, have identified the flaperon as being from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing, a U.S. official said. Flight 370 is the only missing 777.

Under a microscope and expert eyes, the wing fragment that washed up on the beach of the volcanic island could yield clues not just to its path through the Indian Ocean, but also to what happened to the airplane.

"I believe that we are moving closer to solving the mystery of MH370. This could be the convincing evidence that MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean," Malaysia's deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told AFP.

Analysts at the French aviation laboratory hope to glean details from metal stress to see what caused the flap to break off, spot explosive or other chemical traces, and study the sea life that made its home on the wing to pinpoint where it came from.

Search continues

Even if the piece is confirmed to be the first confirmed wreckage from Flight 370, there's no guarantee that investigators can find the plane's vital black box recorders or other debris. A multinational search effort has so far come up empty.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told Reuters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday that additional Malaysian officials were headed to Réunion to look for more debris and others would go to France.

Discovery of the debris may finally confirm the plane crashed into the sea after veering off course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, helping to end 16 months of lingering uncertainty for relatives.

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