MH370: Can Missing Plane Mystery Now Be Solved?

The discovery of a wing flaperon belonging to MH370 raises hopes that the mystery of the vanishing plane could eventually be solved - but experts are divided on whether the truth will ever be known.

Confirmation that debris found on Reunion Island is from the Malaysia Airlines  plane appears at least to discredit conspiracy theories such as the aircraft landing on a remote military base.

Jakarta-based aviation consultant Gerry Soejatman said the discovery was a "huge step".

"People want all the answers, but look, let's be real. We must be glad that we found something at all. Now we know roughly where it might have crashed," he said.

"This answers a lot of questions, actually. It eliminates other theories, conspiracy theories.

"If the black box is found later on, it is likely we could get more answers."

John Page, an aircraft design expert at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said the Boeing 777 most likely broke up on impact with the water.

He believes main body parts will have sunk - but lighter pieces such as flaps, elevators, ailerons and rudders could be floating somewhere.

However, he thinks the chances of finding them remain slim.

"I'm certain other bits floated," he said. "But whether they've washed up anywhere is another question. The chances of hitting an island are pretty low."

Experts think the wing surface may have stayed afloat due to air pockets in its structure - but aviation consultant Gideon Ewers is sceptical about whether other pieces will appear in a similar fashion.

He told Sky News: "This confirms the plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean - but we pretty much knew that.

"It won't take us any further down the path of what happened and why.

"It would be nice to find more debris (but) am I confident or even hopeful? Not really, I'm afraid."

MH370 vanished with 239 people on board on 8 March last year - and families say this is "not the end" of their quest for closure .

Michael Smart, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Queensland, is more hopeful that loved ones may one day get the answers they crave.

"If one piece turns up, perhaps there's a likelihood that others will as well," he said.

"It's strange to think you'd find one part that floated and nothing else."

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