WATCH: It’s hard to imagine the agony of the families whose loved ones vanished without a trace when flight MH370 dropped from the sky more than a year ago. Not a single piece of debris has been found – until now. Officials confirmed Wednesday that the piece of wing washed up on an island in the Indian Ocean is in fact from the missing Malaysian plane. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Plane debris found on Reunion Island last week has been confirmed to be from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Wednesday.
“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370,” the prime minister said during a press conference.
“We now have physical evidence that, as I announced on 24th March last year, flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Razak said.
The plane debris was found on the morning of July 29 on the remote island off the coast of Madagascar.
The piece of wreckage, identified as a “flaperon” from the edge of a 777 wing, was sent to France last week to confirm its origins.
WATCH: The wing of an airplane found on Réunion Island on July 29 belongs to MH370, Malaysia’s prime minister confirmed in a news conference on Wednesday. MH370 went missing on March 8 and had 239 people on board. Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
Island workers found the shell-incrusted piece of airplane wing, measuring about two metres long by one metre wide, while cleaning the coastal line.
Remnants of a suitcase were also found last week on the island, near the area where the piece of jetliner washed up.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.
“The burden and uncertainty faced by the families during this time has been unspeakable,” the prime minister said. “It is my hope that this confirmation, however tragic and painful, will at least bring certainty to the families and loved ones of the 239 people onboard MH370. They have our deepest sympathy and prayers.”
The jetliner veered sharply off course and flew for hours with its communications systems disabled before disappearing on route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement Wednesday that relatives of passengers and the crew had been informed and “we extend our deepest sympathies to those affected.”
The statement said this “is indeed a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370. We expect and hope that there would be more objects to be found which would be able to help resolve this mystery.”
Several ships scoured a more than 60,000-square-kilometre area of the Indian Ocean, about 1,800 kilometres west of Australia.
-with a file from the Associated Press