Update: A code has been found on wreckage washed up on an Indian Ocean island last night, adding weight to the view that it belongs to a Boeing 777 – potentially the missing flight MH370.
A two-metre-long (6ft) piece of wreckage washed up on the French Indian Ocean island, which sits 370 miles east of Madagascar, late on Wednesday. Today the code 657-BB was found to be consistent with the code for a 777 flaperon, according to a maintenance manual.
This has fuelled speculation that it could be from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared without a trace in March 2014. There were 227 passengers on the flight.
"It is almost certain that the flaperon is from a Boeing 777 aircraft," Malaysian deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi told Reuters. "Our chief investigator here told me this,"
This morning a suitcase was found near the location of aircraft debris discovered washed ashore the same island, furthering speculation that it could be from the missing flight MH370.
Police recovered the item from the coastline of St Andrew on the island of Reunion "at exactly the same place as the aircraft debris found yesterday", according to local reports. The suitcase is said to be in a "very bad condition".
A team from Malaysia has been sent to look into the debris, but Malaysia Airlines has said it would be "premature" to speculate on its origin. French air transport officials are also investigating the wreckage
"Whatever wreckage found needs to be further verified before we can further confirm whether it belongs to MH370," transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said. "So we have dispatched a team to investigate on this issues and we hope that we can identify it as soon as possible.”
A statement added: "Until there is tangible and irrefutable evidence that the flaperon does belong to the missing aircraft, it would be premature to speculate at this juncture.
"This is to ensure that we do not raise false hope for the loved ones of the victims of MH370. We will make the necessary announcements once details have been verified."
The minister is currently attending a UN Security Council debate in New York, over the mystery surrounding MH17, a separate Malaysian jet shot down over Ukraine.
There have been other plane crashes much closer to Reunion, but flight MH370 is the only Boeing 777 to have disappeared in the area, according to the BBC.