Sunday 25 March 2018

MH370 hunt widened as tests say wing piece is from a Boeing 777

Police officers inspect metallic debris found on a beach in Saint-Denis on the French Reunion Island
Police officers inspect metallic debris found on a beach in Saint-Denis on the French Reunion Island

Harriet Alexander

Malaysia has asked authorities in the islands surrounding Reunion to be vigilant for plane wreckage, as France confirmed yesterday that the object washed up on the Indian Ocean isle was indeed from a Boeing 777.

Mauritius has already ordered its coastguard plane to fly surveillance flights over the area, and their boats to be on the lookout. Other islands in the region - Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles and Maldives - are expected to be asked to do the same.

"I urge all parties to allow this crucial investigation process to take its course," said Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia's transport minister.

"I reiterate this is for the sake of the next of kin and the loved ones of MH370 who would be anxiously awaiting news and have suffered much over this time."

Mr Liow said the French-led team analysing the wing fragment, known as a "flaperon", which was found on Reunion on Wednesday, has confirmed it is from a Boeing 777. The only such plane lost at sea is MH370.

On Wednesday, French authorities are expected to announce whether the wing is indeed that of MH370.

Today four Malaysian officials, including the head of civil aviation, will meet in Paris with officials from Malaysia Airlines, three French magistrates and an official from France's civil aviation investigating authority.

The wing fragment is at a military-run laboratory in Balma, near Toulouse, having been flown out on Friday.

On Reunion, local people excitedly continued their own hunt for clues.

In Chaudron on the outskirts of the capital, Saint Denis, a small piece of twisted metal with Chinese characters etched onto it was handed over to police.

However, last night investigators ruled out the object as being from a plane, saying it was a domestic ladder and had nothing to do with aviation.

Flight MH370 was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 when it vanished with 239 people on board. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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