Aircraft debris found on the French island of La RÃ©union in the Indian Ocean is believed to be the component of the ill-fated flight MH370 that disappeared in March last year.
The wreckage washed up on the island, which is located east of Madagascar and around 4,000km from the area where search efforts were focused for the Malaysia Airlines’ 777 aircraft.
A fragment of luggage has also been found close to the piece of aircraft.
Aviation experts have identified the 2.5m-long object as being part of a wing, which will be sent to Toulouse, France for analysis.
If the debris is confirmed as being from flight MH370, it will help authorities trace its drift pattern to the place where the bulk of the aircraft is thought to have sunk; however, experts have said this is unlikely to narrow-down the search area.
“We do have a high-degree of confidence that we know the arc in which the plane disappeared.”
Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quoted by ABC as saying: “We do have a high-degree of confidence that we know the arc in which the plane disappeared.
“I presume that if this wreckage does turn out to be from a Boeing 777 that the analysts will do their best with regression work to try to work out exactly where it came from.”
On 8 March 2014, Beijing-bound MH370 disappeared off radars over the Indian Ocean. The aircraft was carrying 239 passengers and crew onboard.
A multi-nation effort using a fleet of ships and aircraft searched for traces of the aircraft but have been unsuccessful.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau head Martin Dolan was cited by the BBC as saying that the flaperon is mostly associated with a 777 aircraft, and there was no other recorded case of the component being lost.
Dolan said: “We are confident we have the quality of the search to cover that area and find the missing aircraft.”