3 Aug 2015

MH370 search: Islands put on debris alert

9:25 am on 3 August 2015

Malaysia is asking Indian Ocean islands near French-owned Reunion to be on the lookout for more possible debris after a wing part suspected of being from missing flight MH370 came ashore.

The Malaysia Airlines plane, carrying 239 people, vanished in March 2014.

Police officers inspect metallic debris on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

Police officers inspect metallic debris on the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Photo: AFP

The Boeing-777 was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The wing part discovered on Wednesday has been taken to mainland France for tests. But other items found at the weekend were not from an aircraft.

The BBC reported one of the pieces was found on a rocky beach just north of where the suspected plane wing part was spotted.

A team of police and police photographers was called and the object was taken away.

However, Malaysia's director general of civil aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said one piece of debris was a domestic ladder.

A spokesman in the town of St Andre, where the wing part was found, said that while people were more vigilant, "they are going to think any metallic object they find on the beach is from flight MH370".

"But there are objects all along the coast, the ocean continually throws them up," Jean-Yves Sambiman said.

Malaysia's transport ministry says it now wants to expand the search for more debris around Reunion.

Malaysia will ask regions nearby to alert it if they find any debris that could be from MH370.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai urged the regions to allow experts "to conduct more substantive analysis should there be more debris coming on to land".

But he also urged people to allow the inquiry to run its course "for the sake of the next of kin of the loved ones of MH370 who would be anxiously awaiting news and who have suffered much over this time".

An Australian-led search effort for the plane has so far focused on a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean about 4,000km to the east of Reunion.

No physical trace of the aircraft had been found.

- BBC

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