Malaysia’s MH370 investigation team has published an illustrated set of analyses of proven or suspected fragments of the missing 777-200ER jet which finds likely tension failure rather than evidence of crushing among material that came from both sides of the wing, parts of the tail assembly and cabin fittings or seats.
Don Thompson, who has taken part in various Independent Group studies of the mystery of the loss of the Malaysia Airlines in 2014, says some of these findings support a mid-air failure of parts of the jet rather than an impact with the surface of the south Indian Ocean.
This could be bad news for those who hope that the sunk wreckage of MH370 might one day be found in a comparatively localised and readily recognizable part of the sea bed as proved the case for Air France flight AF447 after it crashed in the mid Atlantic in 2009.
However some of the fragments of likely internal fittings may bear mute witness to the destructive force of water pounding through the cabin, such as the frame of a seat back IFE screen, shown at the top of this post.
The Malaysia ICAO Annex 13 team report draws attention to a small patch of fabric found in the coat hanger associated with this part of the seat back assembly which is consistent in colour to the scheme used in MH370.
Although it doesn’t elaborate on what that material tells us about the forces that stripped the part almost completely bare, they must have been considerable.
Until now forensic insights into the crash of MH370 have largely come from the Australian safety investigator, the ATSB, which managed the sea floor search and commissioned drift analysis from the CSIRO and other modelling as to the possible routes the jet might have flown before running out of fuel.
Malaysia is responsible for the investigation into the causes of the accident, and the safety lessons that might arise from those inquiries.
This debris focused report has been a long time coming, but might to some degree counter the looney tunes nature of much of the on-going general and social media reporting on the search for the truth about the loss of the flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8, 2014, taking the lives of all 239 people on board.