A new large object was discovered Tuesday morning floating near where debris linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 washed up two months ago, according to Agence France-Presse. The "white object" was reported by an Air France pilot, who had noticed the material on the Indian Ocean's surface while on a flight from Paris to Réunion Island.
With key questions still unanswered about the vanished plane, which disappeared in March 2014, the new finding has prompted speculation from French officials heading the search efforts. Réunion Island authorities deployed a ship to where the object was spotted, around 45 miles off the island, and sent a military plane to scour the area from above.
The Air France pilot was flying at an altitude of 9,800 feet when he spotted the object Tuesday, the airline said in a statement. Due to the plane's altitude, officials believe that the object must be of considerable size.
"It must be a voluminous object for the pilot to see it," Siva Vadivelou, assistant director of the French Civil Aviation Authority on Réunion Island, told CNN.
A Boeing 777 wing was discovered in July on Réunion Island. Authorities have confirmed that the wing most likely belonged to the plane, which disappeared with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.
Authorities have since redirected the search to a 120,000-square-kilometer (46,332-square-mile) expanse of ocean that is 2,000 kilometers west of Perth, Australia, but the efforts have been fruitless.
Experts have debated whether search initiatives are on the right track. German scientists involved in the plane debris recovery have said that barnacles on the discovered Boeing 777 wing suggest that the search is thousands of miles off target.