Debris Found Is Possibly From Missing Malaysian Flight

PARIS (AP/Reuters) -
Police carry a piece of aircraft debris found in the eastern coastal area of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on Wednesday. Air safety investigators have a “high degree of confidence” that the debris is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 passengers and crew that disappeared without a trace last year.  (Yannick Pitou/AFP/Getty Images)
Police carry a piece of aircraft debris found in the eastern coastal area of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on Wednesday. Air safety investigators have a “high degree of confidence” that the debris is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 passengers and crew that disappeared without a trace last year. (Yannick Pitou/AFP/Getty Images)

A U.S. official says air safety investigators have a “high degree of confidence” that a photo of aircraft debris found in the Indian  Ocean is of a wing component unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared last year. The official says investigators — including a Boeing air safety investigator — have identified the component as a “flaperon” from the trailing edge of a 777 wing.

A French official close to the investigation confirmed Wednesday that French law enforcement is on site to examine a piece of airplane wing found on the French island of Reunion, in the western Indian Ocean. The U.S. and French officials spoke on condition that they not be named because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly.

No trace has been found of the Boeing 777, which disappeared in March last year carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.

Search efforts led by Australia have focused on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean.