France’s air crash investigation agency – Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) – is studying a piece of plane debris found on Reunion Island off the east coast of Africa, but officials say its still to it was too early to say if it came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
The debris was found on Wednesday 29 July and a source familiar with the investigation said the debris was most likely from a B777, but that it was not yet established if it was from MH370, according to a Reuters report.
Malaysia said it had sent a team to Reunion Island – a French Indian Ocean territory – to verify whether the washed-up debris was from MH370.
“At this point in time the BEA is studying the information on the airplane part found in La Reunion, in coordination with our Malaysian and Australian colleagues and with the judicial authorities,” a BEA spokesman said. “The part has not yet been identified and it is not possible at this hour to ascertain whether the part is from a B777 and/or from MH370.”
A US official said air safety investigators had a “high degree of confidence” the debris was from the same model as MH370, the Associated Press reported. The official said investigators, including a Boeing air safety investigator, had identified the component as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of a B777 wing.
No trace has been found of MH370, which disappeared in March last year carrying 239 passengers and crew while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, in one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
Search efforts led by Australia have focused on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia.