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Plane debris linked to MH370 arrives in France for tests

French gendarmes work on a oversized crate, believed to contain plane wreckage, in the cargo area of the airport in Saint-Denis on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. July 31, 2015.
French gendarmes work on a oversized crate, believed to contain plane wreckage, in the cargo area of the airport in Saint-Denis on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion. July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Reuters TV TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A piece of Boeing 777 wreckage that washed up on an Indian Ocean island arrived for analysis in France early Saturday, after Malaysian authorities said the part recovered almost certainly came from missing flight MH370.

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The object, believed to be part of a wing, arrived in the French capital shortly after 6am local time, witnesses have said.

From there it will be transported to a defence ministry laboratory in Toulouse for analysis.

If it is confirmed that the two-metre piece of wreckage is from the missing MH370, it would mark the first major breakthrough in a case that has stumped aviation experts for 16 months.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished in March 2014.

There were 239 passengers and crew on board, most of them Chinese.

Since then, an Australian-led search effort has been combing the south Indian Ocean about 4,000km to the east of Reunion.

On Wednesday, a local cleaning crew discovered plane debris on the French island believed to be a moveable piece of a Boeing 777's wing, called a flaperon.  Later, they found a brown suitcase, spawning speculation the objects were from the ill-fated MH370.

Boeing said it would dispatch a technical team to France to help analyse the wing part, which has been confirmed to hold the same serial number as the US  plane manufacturer.

A team from Malaysia Airlines has already arrived in Toulouse and French officials say analysis of the part should begin on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, French and Malaysian investigators are set to hold a meeting in Paris on Monday as part of the deepening probe.

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