Sunday 25 September 2016

Malaysia to verify if debris in Maldives came from MH370

Published 10/08/2015 | 12:58

Workers search Reunion Island beaches where debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could be washed up (AP)
Workers search Reunion Island beaches where debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could be washed up (AP)

Malaysia is sending a team of experts to the Maldives to examine whether a piece of debris washed up there is connected to missing flight MH370.

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Last week, Malaysia said a wing fragment found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion was confirmed to be from the Malaysia Airlines flight.

The plane went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Meanwhile the search continued on Reunion. Local municipal workers combed the island's eastern shore, hefting bags they filled with whatever they found: old cloth, part of a tire, plastic bottles and other objects they found washed up on the rocks and sand.

But Malaysia's transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said it was premature to speculate whether the debris found in the Maldives is connected to Flight 370.

He said the Malaysian team will first try to determine whether the debris is from a plane before proceeding further. He did not give details on what kind of debris was found.

"I urge all parties to allow for the verification process to take its due course. Undue speculation will only stress the families and loved ones, anxiously awaiting news on this matter," Mr Liow said.

The plane was believed to have crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean but no trace had been found until a barnacle-crusted object was discovered two weeks ago on French-held Reunion Island.

Authorities are certain the fragment is from a Boeing 777 component known as a flaperon, but the French have yet to positively identify it as a piece of MH370.

Malaysia has since sought help from other territories to look for other possible debris, and France also deployed a plane, helicopters and boats around Reunion to search the waters.

Press Association

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