A U.S. official says air safety investigators have a “high degree of confidence” that a photo of aircraft debris found in the Indian Ocean is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane that disappeared last year.
The official says investigators — including a Boeing air safety investigator — have identified the component as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of a 777 wing.
A French official close to the investigation confirmed Wednesday that French law enforcement is on site to examine a piece of airplane wing found on the French island of Reunion, in the western Indian Ocean.
The Malaysian government is also sending a team to the island.
— World Outback News (@WON_NetworkNews) July 30, 2015
“We need to verify. We have wreckage found that needs to be further verified before we can further confirm if it belongs to MH370. So we have dispatched a team to investigate on these issues and we hope that we can identify it as soon as possible,” Malaysian Minister of Transportation Liow Tiong Lai said. Malaysia Airlines issued a statement saying: “At the moment, it would be too premature for the airline to speculate on the origin of the flaperon.”
[1/2] With regards to the reports of the discovery at Reunion Island, we’re working with the relevant authorities to confirm the matter… — Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) July 30, 2015
Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner said it was too early to say whether the debris came from flight MH370, but said the location of the discovery “is not inconsistent with the drift modeling we’ve done. It’s not inconsistent with the search area we’re covering.”
The U.S. and French officials spoke on condition that they not be named because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
You can watch footage of the debris find here:
Additional reporting from Associated Press