How a Piece of a Boeing 777 Drifted 2,300 Miles
Indian Ocean debris moves in predictable patterns and confirms searchers are looking in the right spot for the missing plane.
The discovery of an airplane wing section on a remote Indian Ocean island some 2,300 miles west of where investigators think Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crashed off Australia comes as no surprise to scientists and mariners familiar with those seas. On Wednesday, experts confirmed the part is from the missing plane after testing it at a center near Toulouse, France.
“Floating debris from any source travels far and can persist for years,” says Marcus Eriksen, an ocean scientist who has sailed the fast-moving, circular currents known as the Indian Ocean gyre. “Currents are always going west at the top of the gyre. Depending on where debris is in this gyre, it is going to join this counter-clockwise rotation of