Despite being available to authorities for over a month, the recovered Boeing 777 flaperon that is assumed to have come from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s Boeing 777, missing since March 08, 2014, has yet to be definitively linked to the ill-fated flight.
After having been discovered on a beach on Reunion Island, the flaperon — a control surface on the trailing edge of an airplane’s wing — was transferred to a forensics lab in Toulouse, France, to obtain a positive ID. While it has been positively identified as a Boeing 777 component, and the only known 777 that remains unaccounted for is from flight MH370, authorities have as of yet to definitively link the part to the flight, as the identification plate, of which would bear the part’s serial number, is missing.
"There are strong indications that this flaperon is from MH370, but we are still unsure. We are still missing identification from the parts list in order to fully confirm it is from MH370," explains to Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses spokesperson Martine Del Bono.
There is a secondary identification number inside the flaperon, that could be used to identify the part. However, the part itself is owned by a subcontractor in Spain, and the staff that could identify the part is currently on vacation, according to an anonymous source.
Despite misconceptions about the presence of barnacles being an indicator that the flaperon was submerged for an extended period, the part did not need to have been deeply submerged for the creatures to have fastened themselves to it’s surface. Barnacle larvae will attach themselves to a suitable surface anywhere below the waterline, as evidenced by the necessity to periodically remove them from the hulls of boats. As well, many species of barnacle live on rocks in the intertidal zone, with some spending a sizable portion of their lives out of the water.