Now even French investigators are convinced: The airplane debris found on Reunion Island in July belonged to vanished Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a top French prosecutor said Thursday.
Investigators learned Thursday that a series of numbers found inside the plane flaperon matches with records, held by a Spanish company that manufactured portions of the component, linking the debris to MH370, the office of Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said.
“Consequently, it is possible today to affirm with certainty that the flaperon discovered at the Reunion Island on July 29, 2015 is that of MH370,” the office said.
The announcement slices the last thread of public reservation that Molins’ office had about whether the debris was linked to the Boeing 777 that disappeared with 239 people aboard in March 2014.
The Malaysian Prime Minister said weeks ago that the debris, found in July on the shores of the French island in the Indian Ocean, clearly was from MH370. French investigators, however, had said that further testing was needed to say that with ironclad confidence. Some passengers’ relatives agreed, saying they wanted more proof.
French investigators now believe they have it. France, which already had launched a criminal probe into the disappearance because four French nationals were aboard, sent the debris to a specialized laboratory in Toulouse last month.
Molins’ office said that experts using an endoscope found three series of numbers inside the flaperon. It appeared, the office said, that the numbers could correspond to a Boeing subcontractor, Airbus Defense and Space in Seville, Spain.
On Thursday, investigators went to Seville and formally linked “one of the three (series of numbers) collected inside the flaperon to the serial number of the Boeing 777 of flight MH370,” Molins’ office said.