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By Erin McClam

An oceanography professor predicted a year ago that debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could reach Reunion Island off the southern tip of Africa.

Charitha Pattiaratchi of the University of Western Australia drew up maps showing how Indian Ocean currents could carry debris from the lost plane west toward Madagascar within a year and a half of the crash.

An oceanography model shows the possible dispersal of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.University of Western Australia
A map showing where the fragments of a plane suspected to be the lost MH370 have been found, in relation to the original search areas.MSNBC / Malaysian Transport Ministry/Joint Agency Coordination Center

“This is where we would very much expect it, the debris, to end up,” the professor told Australia’s Seven News.

A barnacle-crusted fragment of a plane was discovered on the French island on Wednesday. Boeing investigators believe that it belongs to a Boeing 777, and the only such aircraft missing in the world is Flight 370.

Pattiaratchi said the finding gives oceanographers confidence that crews are looking in the right place, a broad expanse of ocean much closer to Australia, for the body of the plane.

It also supports the conclusion “that some of the other theories about the plane being found in other countries, or sightings, are probably incorrect,” he said.

He said it wouldn’t be unexpected for more debris to wash up in the same region in the coming days and weeks.