Jacquita Gomes is torn about whether to believe that plane debris found more than 16 months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is the first concrete evidence that her husband is truly gone.
Not believing could allow her to keep alive the hopes of many relatives that the airliner and her husband, a flight attendant, landed somewhere unscathed in a hijacking plot though the discovery this week of a Boeing 777 wing component on an Indian Ocean island seemed to make that possibility more remote than ever.
“One part of me, I want it to be true,” Gomes said of the debris found on the French island of Reunion, “so I can put my husband Patrick to rest. It’s been one year, I want him to be at peace.”
But, she added: “The other part of me, I don’t want it to be true, so there is hope for good news. You know, there has been news that people are released after being kidnapped for one year, so there can always be hope for good news if this is not real.”
Relatives of the 239 people aboard the flight nearly two-thirds of them from China have been in an agonizing limbo since the plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
For months, nothing was found. Malaysian authorities eventually concluded the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean, citing satellite data, but many relatives refused to accept any such conclusion without concrete evidence.
Now, US aviation investigators say there’s a “high degree of certainty” that a wing part known as a “flaperon” found on Reunion in the western Indian Ocean close to Madagascar belongs to a Boeing 777. The MH370 is the only such aircraft known to be missing.
However, many relatives remain skeptical and say they are waiting for more definitive word.
“I’ve not slept the whole night really nervous anticipating the news,” Elaine Chew said in Kuala Lumpur. Her husband, David Tan Size Hiang, also was a flight attendant on the plane.
A group of many of the Chinese relatives said in a statement that they wanted authorities to be 100 per cent certain the part was from MH370, and that, even if so, it should not dampen the resolve to find the rest of the wreckage, the whereabouts of all the passengers and the reasons for the disappearance.