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Boeing 777 wreckage found off African coast linked to missing MH370

French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015.
French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Prisca Bigot

Investigators are studying whether debris found Wednesday off the Indian Ocean island of Reunion could belong to the missing Malaysia airliner MH370. Officials say it's too early to tell, but the airplane fragment has fuelled hopes of unlocking the mystery into what happened back in March 2014.

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It's a two-metre long piece of wreckage, but it's already fuelling speculation that it could come from the missing Malaysia airlines flight MH370.

The airliner disappeared more than a year ago in March 2014, with 239 people on board, most of them Chinese.

The airplane fragment was discovered off the French island of Reunion on Wednesday by a cleaning crew.  Aviation experts believe it is a wing part from a Boeing 777. There is only one of these models missing in the world - the MH370.

French investigators are working with officials in Malaysia and in Australia, which has been leading the ocean search around 4,000km to the east of Reunion, to determine the origins of the mysterious piece of wreckage.

But if hopes have been raised, Kuala Lumpur has urged caution, saying it's too early to tell whether it comes from a Boeing 777 or from a MH370. Nothing however has been ruled out.

The debris were found Wednesday night on the beach by local workers who straight away called the police. Journalists on the ground say they were then brought to the local airport in Sainte-Marie to a secure location. A piece of it has is being sent to France for further analysis.

If the wreckage is from the MH370 it would be a potential breakthrough for the families of the victims.

On Thursday, a group of relatives of many of the Chinese passengers said in a statement that they wanted "100%" certainty about where the part is from, and that the search for the missing plane should continue.

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