Reunion to end search for MH370 debris

Active air and sea searches for fragments of doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off Reunion island will stop on Monday after just over a week, local authorities say.


Local official Dominique Sorain said that if no objects were found by next Monday “we will move to a phase of heightened surveillance”.

“No object has been found in the sea that could belong to an aeroplane,” Sorain told reporters on Friday, adding however that “a certain amount of debris” had been found on land.

This has been handed over to investigators, but there is nothing the size of the Boeing 777 wing part found on Reunion last month that Malaysian authorities have said comes from MH370.

The searches, which began last Friday, have covered nearly 10,000 square kilometres of ocean, Sorain said.

Police have spent 200 hours searching for debris, added Sorain, who gave no indication of the mission’s cost.

The tiny Indian Ocean island of Reunion has been in the global media spotlight since the large wing part called a flaperon was discovered on its shores last month.

On August 5, Malaysia’s prime minister said experts had “conclusively confirmed” that the debris came from the doomed flight, which disappeared mysteriously 17 months ago.

However, French investigators were more cautious, saying only there was a “very high probability” that the flaperon came from plane, sparking anger from relatives over the difference in language.

Meanwhile in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said on Friday debris found in the Maldives was not from the missing MH370.

Some pieces were not even from a plane, according to the team of Malaysian investigators, Lai told reporters on Friday.

The team was still sifting through the material and would bring any found to be from MH370 back to Malaysia for further analysis, he said.