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 plane that disappeared.

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 plane that disappeared.

Malaysia?s deputy transport minister on Thursday said it is ?almost certain? that aircraft debris found off the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion came from a Boeing 777 aircraft.

Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told reporters that the country?s chief investigator told him the ?flaperon? ? part of a plane?s wing ? was almost certainly from the same model of aircraft as Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, he told Malaysian publication The Star that the government could not confirm the debris was from MH370.

It follows the discovery of the 6-foot-long part by people cleaning a beach on Reunion on Wednesday.

In a possibly related development, the same cleaning crew on Thursday found a suitcase with wheels near the same spot, the local newspaper,Le Journal de L?ile de la Reunion reports.

The newspaper published a photo of the suitcase and quoted Johnny Begue, a member of the cleaning crew, as saying the piece of luggage was there on Wednesday ?but nobody really paid attention. ? We still see the closure of the bag still attached to a piece of rigid canvas.?

As for the wing debris, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said it is too early to speculate whether it?s from MH370.

In a statement, he said the debris will be shipped by French authorities to Toulouse for examination. A Malaysian team is en route to the southern French city, while a second team is traveling to Reunion, he said. Reunion is a French territory.

Family members of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet rest on March 1 after praying at a temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished last year on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. No trace of the plane has been found. Vincent Thian, AP

?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,? he added.

?As soon as we have more information or any verification we will make it public. We have had many false alarms before, but for the sake of the families who have lost loved ones, and suffered such heartbreaking uncertainty, I pray that we will find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace.?

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Thursday described the discovery as a ?major lead? in the search for the aircraft, which disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard.

?This is obviously a very significant development,? Truss told reporters at a news conference. ?It?s the first real evidence that there?s a possibility that part of the aircraft may have been found.?

He added: ?It?s too early to make that judgement, but clearly we?re treating this as a major lead.?

Truss, who has overseen the search for the Boeing 777 in the ocean 1,000 miles west of Perth, said it would ?take some time? to come to a conclusion. The number BB670 ? which he said is not a serial or registration number but could possibly be a maintenance number ? found on the debris may help with identification.

He said that Australian researchers are examining photographs to see if the barnacles on the wreckage reflect the amount of time the missing plane would have been in the water.

?Clearly if this is wreckage from MH370 it?s an important breakthrough, particularly for families,? he added.

French aviation experts will examine the debris to determine whether it came from theBoeing 777-200ER.

No trace of the plane, which was bound for Beijing, has been found, despite months of aerial and sea searches over thousands of square miles of the southern Indian Ocean.

Speaking to the BBC by phone, Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of Patrick Francis Gomes, the in-flight supervisor on the missing plane, said: ?A part of me hopes that it is (MH370) so that I could have some closure and bury my husband properly but the other part of me says, ?No, no, no,? because there is still hope.?

Source: USAtoday


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.