Julien Delarue, a reporter for the Journal de L’île de la Réunion, shared news on Twitter early Thursday that the badly damaged remnants of a suitcase have been found on Reunion Island by a gardener at Saint-André per the Sydney Morning Herald.
In the journalist’s report from the French-language paper, the object pictured was described as a “suitcase on wheels.”
The shape, color, zipper remnants, contents, and visible paneling that can be seen from both shared photos of the gardener’s island find are consistent with reports of a suitcase that has endured its share of damage.
Saint-Andre is the sixth largest community on the French department of Reunion and is located in the northeastern quadrant of the island.
The suitcase find is significant as a wing flaperon, believed to be from a Boeing 777, was also found in the ocean just off the coast of Reunion Island. The suitcase remnants were found less than a day before the wing flap was pulled from the water, and aviation officials believe they have a strong argument that the wing piece may be from lost Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 per Nine MSN.
Forestier has been reporting breaking news in both English and French on Reunion Island (known locally as La Reunion) wreckage findings, with attention focused on the suitcase early Thursday.
Upon examination of the photos, experts suggest that the suitcase remnants do not at first glance appear to have undergone the harsh conditions of over a year’s worth of water damage.
The Inquisitr reported on Wednesday that the wing remnant found is from a Boeing 777, but it is as of yet undermined whether or not the Reunion Island wreckage is a piece of lost Malaysian Flight MH370. The flight went missing in March of 2014.
Prior to the suitcase photos posted on Thursday, Forestier tweeted photos and news of the flaperon on Wednesday.
A 19h, les dernières infos, les hypothèses, l'avis d'expert en direct sur le bout d'aile d'avion retrouvé ce matin. pic.twitter.com/cTyjLWD6bi— Antoine Forestier (@a_forestier) July 29, 2015
The wing flap, described to be two meters long, made of metal, and reportedly etched with the code “BB670,” is undergoing intensive inspection by officials at the scene. No word yet on how consistent the alphanumeric marking is with a 777 plane, but France-based aviation expert Xavier Tytelman was able to verify that the numbers were neither a registration nor serial number. Boeing officials and US officials have based their own conclusions on photos and video footage. However, the team examining the find believes they just may be able to definitely identify the exact aircraft the part came from.
Australian deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss confirmed that wreckage from MH370 “could have reached the Reunion Islands” via the West Indian Ocean in a statement on Wednesday per Stuff.
Truss explained that “a piece of debris could have floated a very, very long way in 16 months.”
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 is the only 777 model plane ever thought to be lost at sea.
Nine MSN reported speculations that the findings could possibly be from an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 plane that crashed off the island of Grande Comore on November 23, 1996, or another twin-engine aircraft that crashed off Reunion Island in May 2006. Yemenia Flight 626 is also a remote possibility as a source for some of the wreckage, as the plane crashed into the sea off Grand Comore in June 2009, although that aircraft was an Airbus 310.
The debris recovered from Reunion Island is reportedly “to be sent to Toulouse, France for forensic examination to determine whether it is from MH370.” Authorities from Malaysia and Australia are teaming up further examine the findings.
Though the suitcase and/or wing flap can offer no glimmer of hope that the plane and passengers can or will every be found, if either finding can be linked to MH370, this will mark the first time evidence has been located to verify that the lost plane crashed into the ocean.
[Images via Twitter, Nine MSN]