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Debris may be first trace of missing Malaysian plane

A large piece of debris that washed ashore on the island of Reunion is being sent to a French military lab. Aviation investigators will determine whether it's the first trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, missing for more than a year. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The year-plus mystery over what happened to a missing Malaysian airliner captured headlines again, this time a long way from the search area.

    Small waves rolled in along the coast of the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, just a day after the world's attention was brought to debris washed up on shore. It appeared to be part of a plane wing. And now, it's being sent to a French military lab near Toulouse. That's where aviation investigators are headed to determine if it's the first trace of wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Malaysia's chief of civil aviation:

    AZHARUDDIN ABDUL RAHMAN, Director General of Civil Aviation, Malaysia: I'm leading a team to Toulouse tonight to verify and to investigate whether that particular part comes from a Boeing 777 or if it comes from MH370.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It's been more than a year since the Boeing 777 disappeared. The plane was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, but then turned south, and vanished from radar somewhere over the Indian Ocean. It was carrying 239 passengers and crew.

    Since then, its disappearance has remained a mystery. Despite extensive search efforts, nothing had been found, leaving families to linger in uncertainty and frustration.

    DAI SHUQIN, Sister of Missing Passenger (through interpreter): They claim to have found debris of the MH370 on an island? We don't accept this. We do not believe what they claim. The finding doesn't constitute anything.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Australia's deputy prime minister said this new discovery could be a major breakthrough, but added:

  • WARREN TRUSS, Deputy Prime Minister, Australia:

    It's been in the water for a year-and-a-half now and it's moved, obviously, a considerable distance. So, it won't be all that helpful in pinpointing precisely where the aircraft might be located. But if this wreckage is linked to MH370, it will certainly confirm that the aircraft has gone into the water in the Indian Ocean area. JUDY WOODRUFF: It may be more than a week before investigators are able to determine that.

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