MH370 search: French officials scale down hunt for wreckage of missing Malaysian Airlines plane off Reunion

Authorities suggested it was doubtful any new debris would be found

Kunal Dutta
Tuesday 18 August 2015 00:35
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Police officers question workers who found debri on the coast of Sainte Suzanne, Reunion Island, France
Police officers question workers who found debri on the coast of Sainte Suzanne, Reunion Island, France

French officials are scaling down the hunt for wreckage from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, after 10 days of air and sea searches off its Indian Ocean territory of Réunion failed to yield any discoveries.

Authorities on the island said that its search teams would maintain an attitude of vigilance but suggested it was doubtful any new debris would be found. "In the absence of any new discovery of an object that could interest the ongoing investigation, it seems that the statistical chance of finding any debris from MH370 is extremely weak," a statement said.

The Boeing 777 disappeared on 8 March last year during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Despite a massive international effort, for 16 months no trace of the plane was found. But last month, a debris washed ashore from the Indian Ocean appeared to resemble a fragment of wing from a 777, raising hopes of finally solving the mystery of what happened to MH370 and its 239 passengers.

Malaysian authorities believe the piece is part of the plane, although French, US and Australian authorities are yet to definitively identify it. Nonetheless the discovery prompted investigators to search a maritime surface of 6,214 square miles and scour the island’s eastern coastline.

Nearly 200 police officers on foot patrols have searched nearly the entire east coast of the island, while some unidentified objects have been sent for further examination. Last week, a local environmental group claimed to find a large piece of metal debris on the beach and handed it over to gendarmes for further inspection. No further details are yet known.

Australian forces are expected continue their search for the plane in a desolate stretch of ocean 2,600 miles to the east of Reunion, where some believe the plane crashed killing all aboard.

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