Malaysia urges wider search for possible Flight MH370 debris
Malaysia's transport ministry says it wants to expand the search for more debris around Réunion that could lead to a breakthrough in the mystery of Malayia Airlines Flight 370.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai called on other islands and territories in the Indian Ocean to allow experts "to conduct more substantive analysis should there be more debris coming on to land."
In other developments:
• Debris is being analysed in Toulouse; suitcase in Paris
• Malaysians are convinced wing part is from Boeing 777
• Australians focus on ocean search, sea currents
The latest piece of debris discovered on Réunion was initially described by an official as an aeroplane door but this has since been ruled out by Malaysian officials at the scene.
The first piece, a section of wing known as a flaperon, is now in France where it is being analysed at a high-tech military lab in Toulouse.
The remnants of a suitcase are being analysed at a separate crime laboratory in Pontoise, northwest of Paris. A water bottle that washed ashore is also being examined for a possible link to the flight.
French officials in Réunion say they are worried the investigation could be flooded with other washed-up items that have no link with Flight MH370 and could slow down the investigation.
Malaysia’s transport ministry says the wing section found last week came from a Boeing 777, the same aircraft type as Flight MH370, which has been missing for almost 17 months.
First concrete clues
If the debris is linked to the Boeing 777, it would be the first concrete clue for investigators trying to unravel one of modern aviation’s greatest mysteries.
Investigators believe the flight crashed in the Indian Ocean on March 8 last year after veering sharply off its intended flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
French air accident investigators, along with French and Malaysian judicial authorities, are meeting to establish the role of the BEA, France’s civil air accident organisation, in the probe.
If the part is linked to Flight 370, responsibility for the component would transfer to Malaysian authorities leading that probe.
Australian officials, who are overseeing the sea search for Flight 370, says they won’t be sending anyone to Réunion and will remain focused on the search in the Indian Ocean.
Search leader Martin Dolan, who is chief commissioner of the Australian Safety Bureau, says his team is working with experts to model drift patterns in the Indian Ocean.
Oceanographers have said these are compatible with debris floating toward the eastern extremity of the Indian Ocean and islands such as Madagascar and Réunion.