Madagascar aircraft part belongs to Boeing 777 – Malaysian official
The two-meter long piece of debris was found Wednesday by people clearing trails along the coastline of La Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern African coast.
The island of Reunion is a French territory and the found element is being sent to France’s Toulouse to be inspected at the DGA facility, Europe's leading center for aircraft wreckage analysis working under the French Defense Ministry, AP reports.
On Thursday, Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said: "It is almost certain that the flaperon is from a Boeing 777 aircraft. Our chief investigator here told me this."
“It was covered in shells, so one would say it had been in the water a long time,” AFP quoted one witness as saying.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters at the United Nations that he has dispatched a team to investigate the wreckage. “Whatever wreckage found needs to be further verified before we can ever confirm that it is belonged to MH370,” he said.
Meanwhile, an unnamed US official quoted by AP stated that air safety investigators have a “high degree of confidence” that the debris is from a Boeing 777, which is the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane.
According to the official, air safety investigators, including a Boeing investigator, identified the two-meter piece as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of a wing.
Meanwhile, a French official close to the investigation confirmed that French law enforcement is currently at the site examining the salvaged object.
Neither the US nor the French officials revealed their names as they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter yet.
If speculations prove correct, this would be the first major development in flight MH370’s mysterious disappearance since it vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. The plane went missing shortly after taking off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur when it deviated from its planned route to Beijing.
After conducting a massive international search in the South Indian Ocean, the China Sea, and the Gulf of Thailand, investigators came up empty, concluding that the plane had likely flown thousands of kilometers in an unknown direction before crashing.