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Maps and video: How ocean currents may have carried MH370 debris to La Réunion

Reuters/Charles Platiau
Grande Anse beach on La Réunion island.
By Heather Timmons
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

A severed section of a plane wing that some aviation specialists say could be part of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has washed ashore on La Réunion, an island 600 miles east of Madagascar.

The volcanic island, population 850,000, is part of France’s overseas territories, and French aviation authorities are investigating.

The wing is “almost certainly from a Boeing 777,” Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source, but it is still unclear whether it is from the missing flight. The missing MH370 flight was a Boeing 777 plane. The part appeared to have been torn from the plane because of a “sudden impact,” safety analyst David Soucie told CNN. There have been five serious accidents involving 777’s, but the MH 370 flight is the only one to occur over the ocean.

The flight’s final major turn to the south, according to data compiled by the Independent Group, was over the Andaman Sea:

That’s about 3,000 miles from La Réunion, over a remote stretch of open ocean:

The search for the missing plane focused on the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from the western Australia coast, following the believed flight path of the plane:

Ocean currents flow north along the west coast of Australia to Southeast Asia, then to the coast of Madagascar across the Indian Ocean, as this map from Physical Geography shows:

Physical Geography

You can see how those currents flow in this NASA video at about the 0:45 mark:

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