Investigators have discovered a set of floating debris off the coast of Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean, which they say could be a big development in the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
While it's too soon to say whether or not the debris are from the missing airplane, authorities are treating it as a "major lead," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told CNN.
CNN reports that a source close to the investigation believes the debris are a wing component from the missing Boeing 777 aircraft. A number on the wreckage, "BB670," could help aid investigators in the identification process.
Reunion Island, the place where the debris was found, is a French department in the western Indian Ocean.
"If it entered the Indian Ocean in the place where a current search operations are being undertaken, [it] could have reached the Reunion Islands in the 16 months since [the crash]," Truss told ABC News. "It's the first real evidence that there is a possibility that a part of the aircraft may have been found."
According to the Miami Herald, the debris will be sent to the French city of Toulouse for further examination.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March of last year with 239 people on board.
Based on an analysis of satellite data from the missing airline, the plane was believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean.
MH370's disappearance, along with another Malaysia Airlines flight that was shot down over the Ukraine, have battered the airline. New Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller, formerly of Are Lingus, has vowed a comprehensive plan to turn the company around by shrinking in size and working to repair damage done to its public image.
A recently announced overhaul is looking to cut staff at the airline by 30 percent.
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