France announces air, land and sea searches on and around Reunion Island
Malaysian Transport Minister insists the country's investigators found more plane debris
He tells CNN that difference between French and Malaysian statements on flaperon is "a choice of words"
France is stepping up the search off Reunion Island for debris from missing Flight MH370 as Malaysia insists its investigators found more objects from a plane on the the Indian Ocean island.
A military plane will conduct flights over the waters near the French island from Friday onward, the country’s Defense Ministry said in a statement late Thursday, and security forces will carry out foot patrols as well as helicopter and naval searches.
The increased activity was ordered by the French President and Prime Minister, the statement said, following the announcement by investigators that the Boeing 777 wing part found on a Reunion beach last week is very likely from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Uncertainty surrounds the nature of the objects that Malaysia said Thursday had been discovered by its team of investigators on Reunion.
Malaysian officials said they had handed a load of aircraft debris – including window pane, cushion and aluminum materials – to French authorities for verification on whether any of it is from MH370. But French officials haven’t reported any further objects from a plane being found on the island.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told CNN on Friday that the members of the team who found the debris know what they’re talking about.
“These are all the experts from the technical side, from Malaysian team, and they train in these areas, so they will be able to identify whether it is aircraft material or whether it is cushion aircraft material,” he said in an interview.
But no “other relevant objects” in the search for debris have been handed over to investigators in the last few days, a source close to the investigation said Friday.
“There are a lot of things on the beaches,” the source said. “For now, nothing else we received has been sent to Paris or Toulouse. Only the flaperon and the suitcase have been sent to our department in Paris. They are the one in charge of the investigation. We received loads of things recently, but we have absolutely no idea whether or not this is related to the plane. We need to be very careful about this. For example, I received a pair of flip-flops yesterday. A pair of flip-flops could belong to anyone and everyone. I need to discuss with our authorities in Paris to see what we send there and what we don’t send.”
At a news conference Friday, Reunion Prefect Dominique Sorain said some debris recovered in recent days “is not as obvious as the flaperon” and would require “much more complex analysis.”
Difference in flaperon statements is ‘a choice of words’
Confusion has also arisen from di