SYDNEY – A piece of debris recently found on an Indian Ocean island where a wing fragment from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had previously washed ashore is unlikely to be from the missing plane, Australian officials said Wednesday.
The piece in question was discovered earlier this month on French-governed Reunion Island by Johnny Begue, the same man who found a wing fragment on Reunion last year that investigators confirmed was part of the vanished jet.
French authorities examining Begue's most recent find told the Australian agency directing the search for the plane off Australia's west coast that it is unlikely to be from Flight 370, said Dan O'Malley, spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
Begue previously told The Associated Press that he found the latest piece of debris in nearly the same spot as the wing fragment, which is known as a flaperon.
The flaperon remains the only confirmed debris from the Malaysian plane, which disappeared during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. Two other pieces of debris recently discovered in Mozambique will be sent to Australia for examination by an international investigation team.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai has cautioned against speculation that any of the recently found parts came from the missing plane, though he has suggested that one of the parts found in Mozambique looks promising. That part was discovered by an American man earlier this month.
A U.S. official said photos of that piece appear to show that it is the fixed leading edge of the right-hand tail section of a Boeing 777; Flight 370 is the only missing 777. Liow also confirmed that the part appears to have come from the missing plane, tweeting that there is a "high possibility" it belongs to a 777.