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France confirms airline debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

By Amy R. Connolly

PARIS, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- French officials confirmed the piece of airplane wing found on the remote Indian Ocean island of Reunion is from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Prosecutors said "with certainty" the wing part, called a flaperon, found in July was from the Boeing 777 that went missing in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew onboard.

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Investigators matched the serial number on the flaperon, which washed ashore on the French island on July 29, to parts used in the manufacturing of the aircraft. A technician with Airbus Defense and Space (ADS-SAU) in Spain, which had made the part for Boeing, confirmed the match.

"It is now possible to state with certainty that the flaperon found on July 29, 2015, corresponds to the flight MH370," French investigators said in a statement.

The six-foot-long, barnacle-encrusted part, along with various other debris, was discovered by a crew cleaning the beach. Malaysian authorities were quick to confirm it was part of Flight 370 but French officials remained circumspect, prompting an angry outcry from families riled by the mixed message.

It is unclear if the other items found on the island, located near the east coast of Madagascar, were also part of the wreckage. The debris was likely carried there by ocean currents.

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