Malaysia's prime minister has said on his blog that debris found on Reunion island is "very likely to be from a Boeing 777," the same model of the missing MH370. Malaysia has sent a team to France to investigate.
The Malaysia Airline flight disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board. The last primary radar contact placed the aircraft over the Andaman Sea, around 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of the Malaysia's Penang.
"Initial reports suggest that the debris is very likely to be from a Boeing 777, but we need to verify whether it is from flight MH370. At this stage it is too early to speculate," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said.
The debris discovered on Reunion island is around 5,600 kilometers (2,600 miles) away from Pengang and more than 5,500 kilometers (3,500 miles) away from the current international search area.
"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 much heartbreaking uncertainty, I pray that we will find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace," Razak said.
Off to France
Malaysia's prime minister also noted that investigators from the country would be sent to France, where the flaperon - a moving wing surface found close to the fuselage of a plane - discovered on Reunion island is expected to be transferred to.
"To find out as fast as possible, the debris will be shipped by French authorities to Toulouse, site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations," Razak noted.
Reunion island officials said on Thursday that the BEA was asked to coordinate a probe into the origin of the debris.
"No theory is being ruled out, including that it comes from a Boeing 777," the Reunion Island prefecture said.
Meanwhile, luggage was also discovered near the site of the debris.
"The piece of luggage was here since yesterday but nobody really paid attention," said John Begue, a member of Reunion's clean-up association who discovered the debris.
Local civil aviation authorities also took possession of the unidentified luggage.
The missing flight MH370 remains one of civil aviation history's unsolved mysteries.
ls/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)