Missing flight MH370: Malaysian minister 'almost certain' wreckage found on Reunion is that of a Boeing 777

MH370 has been missing since March 2014

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The Independent Online

Malaysia’s deputy transport minister has said that it is “almost certain” that a piece of plane wreckage that has washed up on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion was part of a Boeing 777 aircraft – the model of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told Reuters it is “almost certain” that the flaperon is from a Boeing 777 aircraft, citing the chief official investigating the disappearance of MH370 in March 2014.

Some 239 passengers and crew were on board the flight travelling from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

French authorities on the island are now examining the piece of wing, while US investigators examine a photo of it.

His comments mirrored those of the Australian deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, who said the finding is being treated as “a major lead” and that there is a “realistic possibility” it is from MH370.

Mr Truss told a press conference that a number stamped on the flaperon could be used to quickly identify whether it is from the missing plane.

“This kind of work is obviously going to take some time although the number may help to identify the aircraft parts, assuming that's what they are, much more quickly than might otherwise be the case,” he said.

However, he added there are “other possibilities”, in what could be an attempt to downplay what is the first major physical clue in the case, as the families of the missing continue their agonising wait for evidence.

Earlier, a US official said that investigators have a "high degree of confidence" that the debris is a wing component unique to the Boeing 777.

If the piece of wreckage is from a Boeing 777, it is likely that it will be from MH370 as the model has only been involved in five “hull loss” incidents in its history – a term used to describe when an aircraft is damaged beyond repair or has gone missing. MH370 is the only missing 777 in the world.

Additional reporting by AP and Reuters