Johnny Begue and his friend were out looking for stones earlier this week on Reunion Island when he stumbled upon a piece of an airplane wing washed up on the sand.
“I asked my friend to come help pick it up. First we thought that we’d use it as a piece of decoration and then we thought because it’s a piece of plane, we should probably call thepolice,” Begue, 46, told ABC News today.
The piece was discovered on Wednesday by Begue and may be the first item anyone has seen of the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014 with 293 people on board. Investigators are treating the airplane part, believed to be a “flaperon,” as a major lead into the disappearance of the plane.
Based on a part number that was visible in pictures, Boeing workers believe it came from a 777, the same type of plane as MH370, according to a U.S. official. MH370 is the only missing 777 jet in the world.
Begue is still getting used to the significance of the find.
“I feel like maybe it’s God that sent me, I was just looking for a stone and now I think maybe God sent me so that the people that have lost their loved ones can grieve properly”.
In the wake of the discovery, a tattered piece of luggage on the same beach.
The origin of the piece of luggage has not been determined, but it was seized by local police for examination.
French officials said the plane part will arrive over the weekend in Toulouse, where it will undergo analysis next week.