UPDATE: Malaysia Airlines has released a statement on the discovery of debris that a source says appears to be part of a Boeing 777: “With regards to the reports of the discovery of an aircraft flaperon at Reunion Island, Malaysia Airlines is working with the relevant authorities to confirm the matter. At the moment, it would be too premature for the airline to speculate on the origin of the flaperon.”
UPDATE: A Malaysian team has been dispatched to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to investigate apparent airplane debris found Wednesday, according to Malaysian Minister of Transportation Liow Tiong Lai, responding to a question from CNN’s Richard Roth at the United Nations. “We need to verify, we have wreckage found that needs to be further verified before we can further confirm if it belongs to MH370. So we have dispatched a team to investigate on these issues and we hope that we can identify it as soon as possible,” the minister said.
Apparent airplane debris found off the coast of Reunion island, a French department in the western Indian Ocean, is being examined to see if it is connected to the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a member of the French Air Force in Reunion said Wednesday.
The debris was found off the coast of St. Andre, a community on the island, according to Adjutant Christian Retournat. “It is way too soon to say whether or not it is MH370. We just found the debris this morning,” Retournat said.
He said the debris — what appears to be a wing flap — has been taken to the island, located about 380 nautical miles off the coast of Madagascar.
MH370 disappeared after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 8, 2014, bound for Beijing with 239 people aboard.
Authorities have said they still don’t know why it turned dramatically off course over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam, or where exactly its errant journey finished.
An international team of experts used satellite data to calculate that the plane eventually went down in the southern Indian Ocean. Search teams have been combing a vast area of the seafloor in the southern Indian Ocean, hunting for traces of the passenger jet.
The Malaysian government eventually declared the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 an accident and all of its passengers and crew presumed dead.