Recently washed up debris on the shores of Reunion island does belong to the missing MH370 airliner, said the Malaysian Prime Minister.
The piece of debris – a flaperon wing flag – was found last week on a beach on the French island La Reunion, near Madagascar. Discovery of the flaperon led to a wider search for more possible MH370 wreckage.
"It is with very heavy heart that I must tell you, an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion is indeed from MH370," Prime Minister Najib Razak said during a news conference on Wednesday. "We now have physical evidence that…Flight MH370 tragically ended in the Southern Indian Ocean."
French prosecutors, however, are more cautious. According to Reuters, investigators say that while there is an extremely strong likelihood of the wing part being connected with the missing plane, it is not yet confirmed.
Authorities also say they will soon begin examining a suitcase fragment found near the debris.
Serge Mackowiak, a deputy prosecutor in France, said additional experts would be able to confirm the finding by Thursday, according to NBC News.
Even with such a confirmation, experts have stressed that it still doesn't solve the question about what, exactly, happened to Flight 370. It also does not necessarily provide any indication of where the plane went down. Ocean currents could have carried the piece across the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from the suspected crash site.
Without the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, investigators will have a hard time piecing the details together.
MH370, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members onboard on March 8, 2014. An exhaustive search failed to turn up any evidence of the aircraft, with most of the rescue operation focused on a 46,000 square mile stretch of water off the west coast of Australia.