MH370: Malaysia sends experts to examine Maldives 'debris'

A French military plane inspects the Indian Ocean during an MH370 search mission near the French island of Reunion - 9 August 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Teams have been trawling the Indian Ocean after MH370 debris was found on Reunion Island

Malaysia says it is sending a team of experts to the Maldives to investigate reports that debris from the missing Flight MH370 has washed up there.

Images published in a newspaper in the Maldives show several small objects it said had been found on one atoll.

But Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said it was too soon to say if they were connected to flight MH370.

The Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people veered off its course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014.

The plane is long believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean - though no evidence was initially found despite a massive search operation.

The reports in the Maldives come just days after debris found on the remote French Indian Ocean island of Reunion were confirmed to be from the missing plane.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Part of a wing found on Reunion Island was the first evidence found since MH370 disappeared

"We will be dispatching a team to the Maldives to view the debris as well as conduct preliminary verification of the debris," Mr Liow said in a statement on Monday.

"Undue speculation will only stress the families and loved ones, anxiously awaiting news on this matter," he added.

Experts have already cast doubt on the find, and a report in the Haveeru newspaper said the captain of a barge that capsized in February believed the debris was from his vessel.

"From the pictures of the debris found on most of the islands, I can almost certainly say that they are from the cargo we were carrying," Capt Abdulla Rasheed told the paper.

Meanwhile, the French authorities are continuing their search for debris around Reunion Island after part of the wing of the Malaysia Airlines jet was found last month.

Tests are still being carried out on that debris but Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said last week that experts had "conclusively confirmed" it was from MH370.

"We now have physical evidence that [...] flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Mr Najib told reporters.

Australia has been leading the search for the plane in the area it is believed to have gone down, some 4,000km (2,500 miles) east of Reunion.

Simulation of where debris in search area could end up