Prisca Bigot / Reuters

French investigators confirm wing part is from Flight 370

French officials say investigators found maintenance records matched serial number on wing part found on remote island

French investigators have formally identified a piece of airplane debris, found washed up in July on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, as part of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 that disappeared more than a year ago with 239 people aboard.

The disappearance turned into one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history, sparking a colossal hunt in the Indian Ocean based on satellite data that hinted at MH370's possible path.

Then at the end of July, a man on Reunion island — a French overseas territory — found the almost seven-foot-long wing part, which was flown to France for tests by aviation experts last month.

Malaysian authorities had already declared that the wing fragment was from the missing jet, but until now French investigators couldn't say with certitude that it was the case.

The Paris prosecutor's office said in a statement Thursday that investigators used maintenance records to match a serial number found on the wing part with the missing Boeing.

"Today it is possible to state with certitude that the flaperon discovered on Reunion July 29, 2015 corresponds with that of Flight MH370," the prosecutor's statement said.

The flight disappeared March 8, 2014.

Wire services

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