Air safety investigators are studying airplane debris discovered Wednesday on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. The debris could provide a clue as to what happened to the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that disappeared last year.
Though the debris may be from the flight, and investigators have a “high degree of confidence,” it is too soon to tell, NBC News reports. Boeing investigators have seen photos of the plane fragment they believe is from a 777 aircraft, sources told NBC.
At this point, the debris is said to be part of a wing called a “flaperon” unique to the Boeing 777, according to LA Times.
The French counterpart to the National Transportation Safety Board, the BEA, is also reportedly examining the fragment on site. A cleaning crew responsible for Reunion Island’s coastline–a French territory east of Africa’s Madagascar–discovered the debris. A French TV network was airing footage of the debris from the island.
But, Australian Transport Safety Bureau spokesman Daniel O’Malley said that the “location where the debris was found is not inconsistent with the current search location.”
Both U.S. and French officials said they could not be named because they are not authorized to speak publicly, LA Times reports.
However, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters at the United Nations that he sent a team to verify the wreckage. “Whatever wreckage found needs to be further verified before we can ever confirm that it is belonged to MH370,” Lai said.
The Malaysian jet was carrying 239 people when it disappeared just one hour after it left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 8, 2014. The flight was headed to Beijing.
An investigation by Australia and Malaysia concluded that the plane probably changed its course and headed south before running out of fuel above the Indian Ocean. This is the first piece of debris that could be from the aircraft. A massive search of the China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and South Indian Ocean was unsuccessful.