A plane wreckage that washed up on a tiny Indian Ocean island will be sent to France for investigation, as hopes mounted that the mysterious object could unlock the mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 plane.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday that the two-metre long piece of wreckage found on the French island of La Reunion was "very likely" from a Boeing 777, but it remained to be seen if it indeed came from MH370.
Najib said his government would send the object to the southern French city of Toulouse to be examined by France's civil aviation investigating authority BEA.
Local government officials on La Reunion said that BEA has been asked to coordinate an international probe into the origin of the debris.
Al Jazeera's Tania Page, reporting from Reunion island, said that an initial report is expected on Friday on the origin of the debris.
Malaysian investigators arrived on the island to study the object and a French military helicopter slowly circled the area above the island where the debris washed up on a rocky beach.
"Whatever wreckage is found needs to be further verified before we can further confirm whether it belongs to MH370," said Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement on Thursday that it was "too premature for the airline to speculate the origin" of the debris.
Further adding to the mystery, a torn fragment of luggage was discovered in the same place as the plane wreckage.
"It is really weird, it gives me the shivers," said Johnny Begue, a member of a beach clean-up crew who discovered the plane debris on Wednesday.
RELATED: Families wait in anguish for answers to MH370 mystery
The Associated Press news agency reported late on Wednesday that a US official had said investigators have a "high degree of confidence" that debris found in the Indian Ocean is from a Boeing 777.
Reunion Island is a French Indian Ocean territory.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said it was working with Boeing.
"We've received some pictures of the item and we are having them assessed by the manufacturers as to what they may be," ATSB spokesman Joe Hattley told the Australian Associated Press.
Boeing said it would not comment on the photos.
"If it is indeed wreckage from MH370, it starts to provide some closure for the families of the people on board," said Australia's Transport and Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies