Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing MalaysiaAirlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages.
A guide to the biggest aviation mystery's latest twists.
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NAJIB'S STATEMENT
Past midnight in Kuala Lumpur, Najib appeared at a news conference announcing that the metal wing piece known as the flaperon that washed ashore on the French island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean has been confirmed to belong to Flight 370 — making it the first part of the aircraft that has been found since the plane vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard while on the way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
"We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Najib said.
He said he hoped that this confirmation, "however tragic and painful, will at least bring certainty to the families and loved ones of the 239 people onboard MH370."
In a separate statement, Malaysia Airlines said the conclusion was reached in Toulouse, France, by the French agency that investigates air crashes, known as the BEA, the Malaysian investigation team, a technical representative from China — where most of the passengers are from — and the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau.
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OTHERS MORE CAUTIOUS
At a news conference in Paris, Deputy Prosecutor Serge Mackowiak didn't outright confirm that the debris belonged to Flight 370, but said there were strong indications that it was the case.
"The very strong conjectures are to be confirmed by complementary analysis that will begin tomorrow morning," Mackowiak said. "The experts are conducting their work as fast as they can in order to give complete and reliable information as quickly as possible."
The Australian government, which leads the seabed search for wreckage west of Australia, said that "based on high probability, it is MH370."
Privately, however, there were questions about why Najib had moved forward with the statement before all officials had agreed. An Australian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly, said Malaysia wasn't supposed to make the announcement, and had gone out on its own making a conclusive statement before getting the evidence to back it up.
A U.S. official familiar with the investigation said the flaperon clearly is from a Boeing 777. However, a team of experts in France examining the part hadn't yet been able to find anything linking it specifically to the missing plane, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because there was no authorization to talk publicly about the case.
With no other 777s or flaperons known to be missing, it makes sense that the part comes from Flight 370, but the U.S. and Boeing team members are merely trying "to be precise," the official said.
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RELATIVES' ANGUISH
The mixed messages only added to the relatives' frustrations.
"Why the hell do you have one confirm and one not?" asked Christchurch, New Zealand, resident Sara Weeks, whose brother Paul Weeks was aboard the flight.
"Why not wait and get everybody on the same page so the families don't need to go through this turmoil?" she said.

News Guide: Malaysia Links Debris to MH370; Others Cautious

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الجمعة، 31 يوليو، 2015

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