Madagascar aircraft part belongs to Boeing 777 – Malaysian official

Police carry a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015. © Yannick Pitou
Malaysian official has confirmed that the number on the aircraft part found on La Reunion Island belongs to a Boeing 777, Agence France-Presse reports. So far, however, there is no information that it belongs to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

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."

READ MORE: Disappearance of MH 370 flight: The trillion dollar question to the US and its intelligence services  

“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.

READ MORE: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Missing plane search timeline  

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. 

READ MORE: MH370 was 'shot down by US military', claims former French airline boss  

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.