Paris: France`s air crash investigation agency is studying a piece of plane debris found on Reunion Island off the east coast of Africa but it was too early to say if it came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
The BEA spokesman said the part had not been identified. Aviation experts said that based on photographs of the debris it appeared to be a wing flap.
No trace has been found of MH370, which disappeared in March last year carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. Most of the passengers were Chinese.
Search efforts for the Boeing 777 , led by Australia, have focussed on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia.
"At this point in time, the BEA is studying the information on the airplane part found in La Reunion, in coordination with our Malaysian and Australian colleagues, and with the judicial authorities," the BEA spokesman said in an email.
"The part has not yet been identified and it is not possible at this hour to ascertain whether the part is from a B777 and/or from MH370."
The Associated Press reported late on Wednesday that a U.S. 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 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 Australian Associated Press.
Boeing said it would not comment on the photos.
The BBC quoted an aviation security expert who said the part had "incredible similarities" to a wing flap from a Boeing 777.
But the BBC also noted that there had been other crashes much closer to the island. The part is roughly 2-2.5 metres in length, according to pictures of the debris.
A local official on Reunion cautioned about rushing to conclusions.
"People are getting ahead of themselves over this," Eric Chesneau, an officer in the air transport police, told Reuters in response to speculation on social media. "It is more than likely plane debris, (but) we don`t know what exact part it may be."