Malaysia sends team to see if Reunion Island debris is from MH370 flight

Policemen standing next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion.
Policemen standing next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion.PHOTO: AFP

UNITED NATIONS (REUTERS) - Malaysia said on Wednesday it has sent a team to Reunion Island off the east coast of Africa to determine whether washed-up debris may be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean last year.

Mr Eric Chesneau, an officer in the air transport police of the French Indian Ocean territory Reunion, told Reuters that it was "more than likely plane debris" that had washed up, but further inspection was needed.

No trace has been found of the Boeing 777, which disappeared in March last year carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing. Most of the passengers were Chinese.

"I have sent a team to verify the wreckage ... we hope that it can identify (the wreckage) as soon as possible," said Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai during a visit to the United Nations (UN) in New York.

MH370 vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. Investigators believe it was flown thousands of kilometres off course before crashing. Its disappearance has become one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

 
 

Search efforts led by Australia have focused on a broad expanse of the southern Indian Ocean.

Neither the French civil aviation authority DGAC nor the BEA, the agency responsible for investigating aviation accidents, were immediately available for comment.

Mr Liow was at the UN for a Security Council vote on a draft resolution that would have set up an international tribunal to prosecute those suspected of downing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 last year in eastern Ukraine. Russia vetoed the proposal, saying it was premature.