Police on the island of Réunionare examining what appears to be a piece from an aircraft found washed ashore, amid speculation that it could be wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, reports The Guardian.
The piece of debris, which appears to be part of an aircraft wing, was discovered on the French Indian Ocean island on Wednesday. The Boeing 777 disappeared on 8 March 2014 travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
An unnamed US official told Associated Press on Wednesday that air safety investigators have a “high degree of confidence” that the debris is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777 model.
The official claims that investigators — including a Boeing air safety investigator — have identified the component as a “flaperon”, part of the trailing edge of a 777 wing. The officials spoke on condition that they not be named because they are not authorised to speak publicly.
An international search operation for the missing plane found no physical clues, but an ongoing search has been focusing on the southern Indian Ocean west of Perth, Australia, based on faint signals picked up by satellite after the plane went missing.
A French aviation specialist, Xavier Tytelman, who was sent the photos by a contact on Réunion has highlighted the similarity of the debris to the flaperon on a 777, but other experts have expressed doubt whether the part is large enough to have come from a wide-body passenger airliner.