Plane debris almost certainly from Boeing 777

July 31, 2015 09:03
This piece of metal washed up on Reunion island is almost certainly part of a Boeing 777 and may have been from a vanished Malaysia Airlines jet, according to aviation investigators. Photo: USA Today

Plane debris washed up on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean is almost certainly part of a Boeing 777, according to officials and aviation experts.

The find potentially provides some answers for families of those aboard last year's vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The object, identified by numerous aviation experts as part of a wing, will be sent to a French military laboratory near Toulouse for checks, Reuters reports, citing French police sources.

Malaysia Airlines was operating a Boeing 777 on the ill-fated flight which disappeared in March last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew in one of the most baffling mysteries in aviation history.

The debris was found on Wednesday washed up on Reunion, a volcanic island of 850,000 people that is a full part of France known as an "overseas department", located in the Indian Ocean near Africa.

"The location is consistent with the drift analysis provided to the Malaysian investigation team, which showed a route from the southern Indian Ocean to Africa," a source said.

Aviation experts who have seen widely circulated pictures of the debris said it may be a moving wing surface known as a flaperon, situated close to the fuselage.

"It is almost certain that the flaperon is from a Boeing 777 aircraft. Our chief investigator here told me this," Malaysian Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said.

There have been four serious accidents involving 777s in the 20 years since the widebody jet came into service.

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