• Wreckage found on island in Indian Ocean could be from MH370
• Officials say debris in photos looks like it belongs to Boeing 777
• An aviation lawyer said Boeing engineers should be able to identify the wreckage within 24 hours
• Remains of a battered suitcase found on Reunion Island. Eyewitness says it lay unnoticed on a beach for nearly a day.
• Malaysian PM Najib Razak releases a statement, says debris will be shipped by French authorities to Toulouse, site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations.
• In the same statement he says: 'initial reports suggest that the debris is very likely to be from a Boeing 777'
• NZ aviation expert says the most important thing to do now is wait until the part is identified
• Widow of Kiwi victim says 'we've had so many red herrings it's just an emotional rollercoaster'
• The sister of the Kiwi victim says news has left her feeling "wee bit sick"

The remains of a battered suitcase have reportedly been found on Reunion Island, near where the plane debris was found.

Translated, the tweet reads 'Photo of the suitcase found this morning in Saint-André , near where the wing was seen yesterday'.

Journalist Julien Delarue then tweeted this:

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Translated, the tweet reads

'A discovery, suitcase the same place as the wing debris'

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The piece of a suitcase that may have been onboard flight MH370 lay unnoticed on a beach in La Reunion for nearly a day, an eyewitness has said.

"The piece of suitcase was here yesterday but no one really paid any attention to it", Johnny Begue told Le Parisien.

"You can see how a zip from the suitcase is still attached to a piece of rigid fabric," he added, "it's just surreal, it makes me shudder."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has released a statement on the discovery of the aircraft debris on Reunion island, revealing the debris will be shipped to the French city of Toulouse, with one team heading there and another heading to the French island:

Malaysia has received news from French authorities about airline debris washed up on Reunion, the French island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

Initial reports suggest that the debris is very likely to be from a Boeing 777, but we need to verify whether it is from flight MH370. At this stage it is too early to speculate.

To find out as fast as possible, the debris will be shipped by French authorities to Toulouse, site of the nearest office of the BEA, the French authority responsible for civil aviation accident investigations.

A Malaysian team is on the way to Toulouse now. It includes senior representatives from the Ministry of Transport, the Department of Civil Aviation, the MH370 investigation team, and Malaysia Airlines.

Simultaneously, a second Malaysian team is travelling to where the debris was found on Reunion.

The location is consistent with the drift analysis provided to the Malaysian investigation team, which showed a route from the southern Indian Ocean to Africa.

As soon as we have more information or any verification we will make it public. We have had many false alarms before, but for the sake of the families who have lost loved ones, and suffered such heartbreaking uncertainty, I pray that we will find out the truth so that they may have closure and peace.

I promise the families of those lost that whatever happens, we will not give up.

One of the images reportedly shows a section from the wing of flight MH370. Photo / PeurAvion
One of the images reportedly shows a section from the wing of flight MH370. Photo / PeurAvion

One of the codes reported to be stamped on the debris matches a code found in the Boeing 777 maintenance manual, according to reports:

Joseph Poupin, marine expert in Reunion, told the Journal de l'Ile de la Reunion that the barnacles attached to the mysterious debris appear to be around one year old - which corresponds with the date of the MH370 crash.

He told the newspaper that the barnacles belonged to a species called Lepas Anatifera, which grow at a rate of around one to two centimetres per year.

Debris a 'major lead'

Warren Truss, Australia's deputy prime minister, said the object discovered at Reunion was a "major lead" and could help to end some of the wild theories about the fate of MH370.

Noting that further investigations were required, Mr Truss said images suggested there was a "real possibility" that the object was from the missing Boeing 777.

He said the code "BB670" on the part was not a serial or registration number but could be a maintenance number.

"It is a realistic possibility that wreckage from MH370 ... could have reached Reunion island in the 16 months since the incident," he said.

"This is a significant development. It is the first real evidence that part of the aircraft may have been found."

Mr Truss said the discovery may "help to put some theories to bed but there are a lot of very wild theories around."

"But it won't prove that it is in any [specific] location, other than the Indian Ocean," he said.

Australia has been overseeing the search for the aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean.

Map predicting wreckage course includes Réunion

Families publish letter

Families of the missing MH370 victims in China have published a letter saying they want officials to be "100 per cent sure" of the discovery, writes Meredith Tang in Beijing.

They write:

Quote We, as relatives, have several points to make as for the wreckage:

1. We will pay attention to the development of this case. And hope there will be an official result as soon as possible. We don't want to hear any officials guarantee it was 99 per cent for sure. Instead, we want 100 per cent for sure.

2. We care more about where are our families, no matter where the wreckage is. Has the flight landed halfway? Or have all passengers gone aboard? Neither can be confirmed.

3. It should not influence the search for MH370 which was guaranteed by various parties, no matter this wreckage belongs to MH370 or not.

4. We hope the Malaysian side (including the government and airline company) will restore the support centre for Chinese relatives, restore the communication, psychological guidance, emergency payment and other functions. Under such circumstances, relatives have no idea where to get and confirm information. Malaysian responsibility cannot be substituted by media reports.

5. Except searching, we also care about the investigation process. Such investigation, without the involvement of a third-party to lead and monitor, cannot find the real reason that the flight was missing. Nor could it provide any reliable evidence for searching. This is a crime for neglecting the relatives and the flight safety issues.

"One part of me, I want it to be true"

Jacquita Gomes is torn about whether to believe that plane debris found more than 16 months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is the first concrete evidence that her husband is truly gone.

Not believing could allow her to keep alive the hopes of many relatives that the airliner and her husband, a flight attendant, landed somewhere unscathed in a hijacking plot - though the discovery this week of a Boeing 777 wing component on an Indian Ocean island seemed to make that possibility more remote than ever.

"One part of me, I want it to be true," Gomes said of the debris found on the French island of Reunion, "so I can put my husband Patrick to rest. It's been one year, I want him to be at peace."

But, she added: "The other part of me, I don't want it to be true, so there is hope for good news. You know, there has been news that people are released after being kidnapped for one year, so there can always be hope for good news if this is not real."

Relatives of the 239 people aboard the flight - nearly two-thirds of them from China - have been in an agonizing limbo since the plane disappeared on March 8, 2014, while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. For months, nothing was found.

Malaysian authorities eventually concluded the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean, citing satellite data, but many relatives refused to accept any such conclusion without concrete evidence.

Now, U.S. aviation investigators say there's a "high degree of certainty" that a wing part known as a "flaperon" found on Reunion in the western Indian Ocean close to Madagascar belongs to a Boeing 777.

The MH370 is the only such aircraft known to be missing.However, many relatives remain skeptical and say they are waiting for more definitive word.

"I've not slept the whole night - really nervous anticipating the news," Elaine Chew said in Kuala Lumpur.

Her husband, David Tan Size Hiang, also was a flight attendant on the plane.

A group of many of the Chinese relatives said in a statement that they wanted authorities to be 100 percent certain the part was from MH370, and that, even if so, it should not dampen the resolve to find the rest of the wreckage, the whereabouts of all the passengers and the reasons for the disappearance.

The Reunion debris may finally rule out that missing passengers might still be alive, said Wang Zheng, an engineer in the southern Chinese city of Nanjing whose father and mother, Wang Linshi and Xiong Deming, were aboard the flight as part of a group of Chinese artists touring Malaysia.

"All hope is truly gone now," Wang said.

"I'm feeling very confused and emotional at the moment."However, Wang also said that closure still remains a distant prospect for him."

For now, we'll just follow the investigation and see what it shows," Wang said.

The disappearance has been difficult for relatives in China, where the culture places an especially heavy emphasis on finding and seeing the remains before true grieving and the process of moving on can begin.

Zhang Qian, whose husband Wang Houbin was among the 153 Chinese citizens aboard the flight, said she had seen reports of the discovery but remained unconvinced.

"We still can't be sure. How could it have traveled so far?" Zhang, 29, said.

She quit her job after the accident and turned to Buddhism to find solace.

"They've given us so much contradictory information so far, how can we believe them now?" she said in a telephone interview in Beijing before breaking into sobs.

Sara Weeks in Christchurch, New Zealand, whose brother Paul Weeks was on Flight 370, said it was hard to believe that after so long, a large piece of the plane could actually show up.

"If it is from MH370, then I still have all the same questions: Where is it? Where is the rest of it? What happened to it?" Weeks said.

"I believe we'll find out what happened to it one day, regardless. Somebody knows what happened."

"It's a great big gaping hole in everybody's life," Weeks said.

"We need to find out what happened to get closure, and move on."

MH370 SUSPECTED PLANE PARTWHAT WE KNOW SO FAR

What was found:

* composite metal object, believed to be from an aircraft, covered in shells

* measures 2m long, 1m wide, takes 4-5 people to carry

* appears to be part of rear of an aircraft wing

* could be a "flapper", used as aircraft lands or takes off

Where was it found:
* Discovered by locals on a beach on the Island of La Reunion, French Indian Ocean, about 6000km from current search area
* Find is consistent with the path debris was predicted to flow, away from search zone
* If confirmed, would also be consistent with theory MH370 crashed within 120,000sq km search area 1800km southwest of Perth

What happens next:
* Malaysia has sent team to Reunion to examine the debris
* Authorities, including those in Australia, working with manufacturer Boeing to try to identify it
* They are looking for a part number or a serial number; there appears to be an unidentified number - BB670
* This would help confirm type of plane, owner of plane (MH370 was a Boeing 777)
* Expected to take several days to identify and/or confirm if it's from MH370 or not

MH370 - Recap:
* Disappeared on the night of March 8, 2014
* Had been heading from Kualu Lumpur to Beijing
* Last contact made as it was travelling over the South China Sea
* Minutes later it veered off its route over waters near Malaysia
* 237 passengers and 12 Malaysian crew on board
* Most where Chinese, also 6 Australian travellers
* There are many theories about what happened
* They include the pilot going rogue, a hypoxia event, and even accusations Russia commandeered the plane to Kazakhstan
* It remains one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries

Search so far:
* Australia has led the operation to find MH370 since March 17, 2014
* Some 50,000sq km of sea floor in the southern Indian Ocean has been scanned
* Nothing has been found so far
* About 40pct of the overall search area still to be examined

- Additional reporting from AP and The Telegraph