Australian Expert Sent to Help in Examination of Possible MH370 Wreckage

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By Phil Helsel

An expert from the Australian government will help analyze plane wreckage found on an Indian Ocean island last week, and which could have come from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials said Tuesday.

The expert from the Australian Transport Safety Board will join investigators in France examining the barnacle-crusted flaperon found on Reunion Island on July 29.

The French judiciary requested Australia’s help, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said. What happened to Flight 370 — which disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard — is a mystery.

Related: Three Questions Experts Want to Answer About Reunion Plane Debris

Officials have presumed the jet bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur crashed in the ocean, but how and why are questions that have not yet been answered.

The wreckage has not been confirmed to have come from Flight 370. Tuss said that Australian drift modeling indicates that wreckage from the suspected crash site could have ended up on Reunion, and island located in the western Indian Ocean.

"Material from the current search area could have been carried to La Réunion, as well as other locations, as part of a progressive dispersal of floating debris through the action of ocean currents and wind,” Truss said in a statement.

The search for the missing plane in a 74-square mile area in the southern Indian Ocean will continue, Truss said.