RÉUNION ISLAND — Debris that has washed ashore onto an island east of Madagascar is believed to be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which has been lost at sea to the west of Australia since March 2014.
Debris washed ashore onto Réunion Island around 4,000 kilometres from the search site on July 29.
Malaysia's Transportation Ministry released a statement on Sunday saying that the airplane part found on Réunion Island was a part of the wing known as the flaperon and was part of a Boeing 777 aircraft, the same model as Flight MH370, according to The New York Times.
Authorities say that counter-clockwise near-surface circulation in the southern Indian Ocean may have carried the debris northward toward the equator. Debris could then join the South Equatorial current moving westward toward the Mozambique current near Réunion island.
If the debris indeed does belong to MH370, numerical ocean circulation models could be able to retrace the origin of the crash site and could suggest new regions of the ocean to focus on.
The debris has been taken to France and investigators from Malaysia, France, China and Boeing are expected to begin verification on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.