Malaysian experts in Maldives to probe possible MH370 link

olunteers gather next to large debris found on the coast of Sainte Suzanne, Reunion Island, France on Aug 11, 2015.
olunteers gather next to large debris found on the coast of Sainte Suzanne, Reunion Island, France on Aug 11, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

COLOMBO (AFP) - Three Malaysian aviation experts have arrived in the Maldives to examine whether debris found on the honeymoon islands could be wreckage from flight MH370.

The Maldives joined a regional search for wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight after islanders spotted unidentified debris washed up along the northern atolls of the Indian Ocean archipelago.

Government minister Mohamed Shareef said the Malaysian team, led by director general of civil aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, had arrived on Tuesday night and would begin work after talks with local counterparts.

"I will also be meeting them shortly," Shareef told AFP. "We have secured the debris already collected."

The plane was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it disappeared in March 2014 after inexplicably veering off course. It is believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean region.

The search acquired fresh impetus when Malaysia last week said a wing part that washed ashore on the French island of Reunion came from the aircraft.

After that discovery, the Malaysian authorities alerted nearby Madagascar and South Africa to be on the lookout, saying it was possible debris would wash up in those locations.

Mauritius has also joined the search.

Reunion is some 3,200km southwest of the Maldives, and local media said some of the large objects washed up on the islands appeared to be debris from a barge that capsized in February.