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Thursday, August 6, 2015, 21:18

Reunion debris is from MH370: Malaysian PM

By Agencies
Reunion debris is from MH370: Malaysian PM
French gendarmes and police stand near a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, in this picture taken July 29, 2015. (Photo / Agencies)

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia confirmed early on Thursday that a piece of a wing washed up on an Indian Ocean island beach last week was from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, the first trace of the plane found since it vanished last year with 239 people on board.

"Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370," Prime Minister Najib Razak said in an early morning televised address.

"I would like to assure all those affected by this tragedy that the government of Malaysia is committed to do everything within our means to find out the truth of what happened," Najib said.

The announcement, by providing the first direct evidence that the plane crashed in the ocean, closes a chapter in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history, but gives victims' families little clue as to why it disappeared.

"It's not the end," said Jacquita Gonzales, who lost her husband Patrick Gomes, a flight attendant.

"Although they found something, you know, it's not the end. They still need to find the whole plane and our spouses as well. We still want them back," she said.

The airline described the discovery as "a major breakthrough for us in resolving the disappearance of MH370.

Also on Thursday, Malaysia's transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysian team on Reunion Island collected other plane debris including a window and some aluminum foil. His claim was later denied by the Paris prosecutor's office.

A spokeswoman in the prosecutor's office, who was not authorized to be quoted by name, denied that any new material from an airplane had been turned over to French authorities. Liow said hours earlier that new debris, including window material and metal, had been collected but that he could not confirm whether they were from MH370.

Reunion debris is from MH370: Malaysian PM

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak confirms the debris found on Reunion Island is from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, early Aug 6, 2015. (Photo / Agencies)

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