MIAMI — The debris found on a beach in the French island of Réunion last week was determined to be part from a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO, MSN: 28420 / LN 404) that vanished while operating flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak announced in a brief press conference today.

Razak expressed sincere grief for the relatives of the victims, and declined to disclose details on how the experts determined the debris to be from the missing jetliner.

“It is with a very heavy heart… An international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on reunion is indeed from MH370,” Razak said.

Malaysia Airlines also joined Razak’s statement, adding that the positive identification was carried out “by the French Authorities, Bureau d’ Enquetes et d‘ Analyses pour la Securites de I’Aviation Civile (BEA), the Malaysian Investigation Team, a Technical Representative from PRC and Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) in Toulouse, France.”

A worker found the debris from the missing jetliner during beach cleaning activities. The piece, identified as a flaperon, was lately transported to France for further assessment.

The debris is the first physical evidence found in almost a year and a half from the ill-fated plane. Initial search efforts focused on the South China Sea area and later, as Inmarsat satellite data became available to investigators, it was determined that flight MH370 flew south and ended its flight in the southern part of the Indian Ocean.

Investigators expect that the flaperon may provide details about the aircraft final moments. Meanwhile, the search activities continue in the South Indian Ocean, wherein according authorities believe the flight plunged, and task forces are inspecting the coast of Réunion at the search of more debris.