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MH370 search: More debris found

August 6, 2015 6:12 pm

Aircraft seat cushions and window panes have been found on Reunion, the small island in the Indian Ocean where wreckage from flight MH370 was recovered.

Malaysia’s transport minister announced the find. “We have also found debris like window panes, aluminium foil and seat cushions,” Liow Tiong Lai said.

Mr Liow, who later specified he was referring to aircraft seat cushions and windows, said it remained to be seen whether the latest items found on the island were from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

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“They are little parts, but the debris cannot be verified if it belongs to MH370. It has to be verified by the French authorities,” he said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday ended a 17-month wait for verified physical evidence from the plane when he said a team of international experts had confirmed a wing component found on Reunion last week was from MH370.

The recovered flaperon, part of a Boeing 777’s wing, is being analysed by experts at a military laboratory in the French city of Toulouse in the presence of French, Malaysian, Chinese and American representatives.

MH370 disappeared on March 8 last year, after inexplicably veering off course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

The first piece of direct evidence that the plane crashed in the ocean closed a chapter in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

But exactly what happened remains unknown, and Mr Najib’s announcement did not appear to represent any kind of resolution for the families of those on board, most of whom were Chinese.

Despite the Malaysian confirmation, prosecutors in France stopped short of declaring they were certain the wing piece came from MH370, saying only that there was a “very strong presumption”.

Paris prosecutor Serge Mackowiak said this was based on technical data supplied by both the manufacturer and airline but gave no indication that experts had discovered a serial number or unique markings that would put the link beyond doubt.

Malaysian experts are convinced the flaperon is from MH370 because a seal on the part matched a maintenance record and the paint was the same colour.

Representatives of manufacturer Boeing confirmed that the flaperon came from a 777 jet, he said, and Malaysia Airlines provided documentation of the missing aircraft.

Mr Mackowiak told reporters in Paris more analysis would be carried out on Thursday, and a fragment of luggage also found in La Reunion would be examined by French police.

“We appreciate the French team and their support and respect their decision to continue with the verification,” Mr Liow said.

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