MH370 Probe: Recovered Airplane Part May Hold Clues About How Jet Went Down, Expert Says
The plane likely did not suffer a high-speed, nose-down impact, one expert says.
By ERIN DOOLEY
July 31, 2015, 12:13 AM
• 4 min read
-- The type of damage sustained by a piece of airplane debris that washed ashore on an island near Madagascar suggests that the plane likely did not suffer a high-speed, nose-down impact, one expert tells ABC News.
The debris, which engineers believe probably came from a Boeing 777, has sparked renewed speculation about the plight of MH370, a Boeing 777 that vanished on the way to Beijing in March 2014.
Authorities, who have not yet said definitively whether the debris comes from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines jet, are nevertheless treating the piece of debris as a major lead in the case.
Based on preliminary observations, Former NTSB Aviation Safety Director Tom Haueter says the part –- identified by Malaysia Airlines as a “flaperon,” a wing component used for balance –- appears to have a pristine leading edge. The rear section, called the trailing edge, appears to be missing.
“To me, it indicates that it was not a high speed, high angle impact, because if that had happened, the leading edge would be crushed,” Haueter, an ABC News contributor, said. “What I don’t see is a severe nose down impact.”
The condition of the debris suggests the flaps were down at the time of the crash, possibly indicating that “somebody's controlling the aircraft,” when it hit the water, said Haueter.
“The airplane wouldn’t have done that on its own,” he added. But “you’re trying to land or ditch the airplane – you’d have the flaps folded down.”
Authorities are transporting the recovered debris to France for further examination.
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers on board, all of whom are presumed dead. Investigators have spent the last year and a half combing the Indian Ocean for the wreckage.