MH370 Wing Flap Is Clue to Plane's Last Moments
Wing flap likely hadn't been deployed: ATSB report
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2016 8:05 AM CDT
Three photos show a piece of aircraft debris stored at the ATSB laboratory in Canberra, Australia.   (Australian Transport Safety Bureau via AP)
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(Newser) – A piece of debris holds a big potential clue, or so finds a new report on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Of the more than 20 pieces of aircraft debris that have been found since MH370 went down in March 2014, three have been verified as coming from the plane, reports CNN. One of those—the right outboard wing flap found on Pemba Island—"was most likely in the retracted position at the time it separated from the wing," states the report. If a pilot was landing or ditching the plane, the wing flaps would have likely been deployed, reports the Guardian. "We are very reluctant to express absolute certainty, but that's the most likely scenario," an ATSB rep tells ABC Australia. "You can draw [your] own conclusions as to whether that means someone was in control or not."

The report—which determined the plane was in a "high and increasing rate of descent" per its final satellite communications—also includes preliminary drift analysis results in an effort to determine where the debris originated. Officials conclude the crash site is likely "within the current search area, or further north." All but a small portion of the 46,000-square-mile search area has now been surveyed, with the final 4,000 square miles to be searched early next year. Officials previously said the search will end at that point, though Australia's transport minister now says a three-day meeting currently happening in Canberra will "inform the remainder of the search effort, and develop guidance for any future search operations."
 

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