MH370 search: New debris on Reunion investigated

  • 2 August 2015
  • From the section Asia
Media captionKaren Allen reports from the beach in St Denis where a couple found a piece of metal

More debris washed ashore on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion is being investigated after a wing part suspected to come from missing flight MH370 was found on Wednesday.

It was thought one object discovered south of the city of St Denis may have been part of a door.

But police say it is not yet being treated as evidence and Malaysian officials cast doubt on it.

MH370 disappeared in March last year with 239 people on board.

The Malaysia Airlines flight was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

'Mangled metal'

An Australian-led search effort for the plane has so far focused on a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean about 4,000km (2,500 miles) to the east of Reunion.

No physical trace of the aircraft has been found.

Missing Malaysia plane: What we know

MH370: The deep-sea hunt for missing plane

The BBC's Karen Allen, on Reunion, says 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 told Associated Press: "I read all over media [the new debris] was part of a door. But I checked with the Civil Aviation Authority, and people on the ground in Reunion, and it was just a domestic ladder."

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.

The Agence France-Presse news agency said on Sunday that one of its photographers had also seen a mangled piece of metal inscribed with two Chinese characters, attached to a leather-covered handle and measuring 100 sq cm being placed into an iron case and carried away.

Some social media commentators suggested it might be a kettle.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption This was one of the new pieces of debris found on Reunion that was taken away for examination
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The first piece found on the beach was taken from Reunion for closer inspection
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Volunteers have been searching for more plane debris on the beach in Reunion

Malaysia's transport minister earlier confirmed that the object found on a beach at St Andre on Wednesday was a wing flap from a Boeing 777 - the same type of aircraft as the one that vanished.

"This has been verified by French authorities together with aircraft manufacturer Boeing," Liow Tiong Lai said on Sunday.

The piece has gone to mainland France, where investigators in the city of Toulouse will seek to establish if it came from MH370. They will begin their work this Wednesday.

Fragments of a suitcase found on the same beach are also to be examined.

The centre in Toulouse was also involved in analysing debris from the Air France flight AF447, which crashed on the way to Paris from Brazil in 2009, killing 228 people.

Investigators believe MH370 veered off course on the way to Beijing and crashed into the sea - but they do not know why.

In January Malaysian authorities declared that all on board were presumed dead.

Its estimated last location was based on "pings" sent from the aircraft that were detected by satellite.

Simulation of where debris in search area could end up