Aircraft experts are currently examining aircraft wreckage that could be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The debris was found about 4,000 km from the official search zone off Australia’s west coast.
The 2 m aircraft wing piece discovered on the French island of La Réunion off Madagascar is also approximately 3,800 km from where it was expected to wash up.
Australian authorities charged with co-ordinating the multimillion dollar search said the finding was consistent with newer research due to be released in the coming weeks.
Earlier drift modelling undertaken by Global Environmental Modelling Systems released last August indicated the first predicted point of landfall for any floating debris from MH370 was the south coast of Indonesia.
“That was the first drift model analysis,” a spokesperson for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) told IHS Maritime on 30 July. “New long-term drift modelling is to come.”
ATSB also maintained the location of the wreckage was consistent with other analysis and that the resting place of the aircraft was in the southern Indian Ocean.
“Any new evidence will be used to further inform and refine ongoing search efforts,” according to the ATSB statement.
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Australia has come under fire for its failure to come up with any clues. However, Australian Maritime Safety Authority CEO Mick Kinley in an earlier interview with IHS Maritime stressed the search in Australian waters had got underway belatedly because the plane initially was being thought to have crashed en route to Vietnam.
“By the time we were advised they thought it was in our search-and-rescue region – that was eight days out,” he said. “So the changes of finding floating wreckage were not good. We weren’t terribly confident we’d find anything [in Australian waters].”
An extensive air and ship search of the area off the Australian coast at the time failed to come up with any wreckage. Since then, a fleet of four vessels have searched 55,000 km² of the seabed in the priority search area determined by satellite analysis without luck.
A team of aircraft experts from Boeing, France, Malaysia, and the United States have flown into the island to examine the wing component.
One US expert on the ground told Associated Press they had “a high degree of confidence” the wing flaperon was from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777.
MH370 disappeared with its 239 passengers and crew on the night of 8 March 2014.