The French island of Reunion is about 3,500 miles (5,600 kilometres) southwest of Penang, according to a Google map. The US and French officials spoke on condition that they not be named because they aren't authorised to speak publicly.
The government of the island, officially a part of France lying to the east of Madagascar, imposed a ban on access to the Piton de la Fournaise volcano, including by helicopter, after an eruption at 1000 a.m. local time, news agency Reuters reported.
The Malaysia Airlines flight - a Boeing 777 flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing - vanished on March 8, 2014. There were 239 passengers and crew on board.
Aircraft debris found in the Indian Ocean will be shipped to France for investigation, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday. Experts are likely to examine the debris in next week.