REUNION ISLAND - A man whose job is to keep the beach clean may have wiped out evidence about the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Nicolas Ferrier said he carried out daily patrol of the wild shores of Reunion, picking up debris from the jet black sands and among giant boulders.
He told the London Telegraph that he had seen what looked like a bus seat or a hang glider's chair.
"It wasn't until Wednesday that it hit me what it could have been," said Ferrier.
"It was probably part of that plane."
Ferrier spotted the seat in early May. Yesterday he told his story for the first time.
Ferrier said he had no idea of the significance of the object. Flotsam and jetsam washed up are part of his every day life on the beach, where fierce waves hit and the waters are shark-infested.
"I found a couple of suitcases too, around the same time, full of things," he said.
"I burnt them. That is my job. I collect rubbish, and burn it.
"I could have found many things that belonged to the plane, and burnt them, without realising."
He said the flaperon which washed up on Wednesday had been brought in by the waves in May when the barnacles on its side were still alive. By the time it washed ashore again this week, the crustaceans were dead.
"I sat on it. I was fishing for macabi (bonefish) and used it as a table. I really didn't pay much attention to it - until I saw it on the news."
The Telegraph said his story was backed up by that of a local woman, named only as Isabelle, who saw the same object in May.
"It was the beginning of the holidays - around May 10," she told local news website Zinfos974.com.
"I was walking with my son. Then, from a rock on which we were standing, he saw an object and shouted: 'Mum, that looks like the wing of a plane!'"
The 10-year-old then jumped on what looked like a suitcase. He managed to prise it open, and then spotted another suitcase buried in the black sand.
But the waves were gathering height and so Isabelle ordered her son off the beach.
"Even now I can't quite understand it. For me, it was something totally normal - I see it all the time. I can't really say if it was the first time or the last time that I saw bits like that, because I never pay attention," said Ferrier.