A Malaysian team inspecting debris that washed up in the Maldives has so far found nothing that came from missing flight MH370, Malaysia’s transport minister says.
Malaysia sent experts to the Maldives this week to check on reported debris found on the coral atoll nation after a wing part from the ill-fated plane was found on Reunion island in the Indian Ocean.
Transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said his team had examined the Maldives debris and found no connection.
“They are not related to MH370 and not even plane material,” he told The Star newspaper.
Mr Liow said the investigators would continue to examine any further unidentified flotsam found on the Maldives for links to the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777, which disappeared in March last year.
Malaysia last week said the wing part that washed ashore on Reunion had been confirmed by experts as coming from the missing jet.The confirmation marked the first confirmed evidence the plane, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew, had met a tragic end in the Indian Ocean.
After that discovery, the Malaysian authorities alerted nearby Madagascar and the South African coast to be on the lookout, saying it was possible debris would wash up in those locations.
Mauritius also launched search operations.
So far, no further debris from MH370 has been confirmed.
The Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8 last year, sparking the largest multinational search operation in history.
The hunt for MH370 has been focused on the southern Indian Ocean based on satellite data hinting at the plane’s path.
Reunion island search to end on Monday
Meanwhile, Reunion island authorities have announced active air and sea searches off the tiny island’s shores will stop on Monday after just over one week.
Local official Dominique Sorain said if no objects were found by next Monday, “we will move to a phase of heightened surveillance”.
“No object has been found in the sea that could belong to an airplane,” Ms Sorain told reporters, adding that “a certain amount of debris” had been found on land and handed over to investigators.
She said the searches, which began last Friday, had covered nearly 10,000 square kilometres of ocean and involved 200 police hours.