Paris, France (BBN)– France is to conduct air, land and sea searches in and around the island of Reunion in the hope of finding more debris which could be linked to MH370.
Malaysia said on Thursday that a wing section found on the French Indian Ocean island definitely came from the doomed Malaysia Airline flight, reports BBC.
But investigators in France are yet to confirm the link, causing frustration among the families of victims.
France has also dismissed Malaysian claims that more debris has been found.
The Boeing 777 was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 when it vanished from radar. It had 239 people on board, most of them Chinese.
For a third day, relatives angered by mixed messages from the authorities and distrusting official announcements are staging a small protest outside Malaysia Airlines’ offices in Beijing.
At the scene: John Sudworth, Beijing
On one level, you could argue, it is simply a refusal to accept the obvious.
The evidence after all is strong; the satellite data shows the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean and now the debris find – matching the sea current patterns – adds further corroboration.
But the unwillingness of many of the Chinese relatives to believe that conclusion is not as illogical as it sounds.
There are indeed real question marks over the way the Malaysian authorities have handled both the search for the plane and the release of information, marred by delay, confusion and apparent self-interest.
And here in China too, the families feel there is no-one they can trust. There are no independent media voices campaigning on their behalf or doggedly pursuing the truth.
Their own attempts to demand answers have been met with the usual control and harassment by plain-clothes policemen.
Bewildered and despairing, it is perhaps little wonder that some find comfort in the myriad conspiracy theories swirling online; that the plane might not be at the bottom of the ocean and that their loved ones might still be alive.
‘Shed light on this tragedy’
The French government said in a statement that a military Casa aircraft would begin surveying the area around Reunion on Friday morning, along with helicopter and boat patrols and search teams on foot.
Saying it recognised the pain for the families, the statement (in French) said France would play its full part in international efforts to “shed light on this tragedy”.
The wing section found on Reunion, known as a flaperon, is being examined in the French city of Toulouse by international aviation experts.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said paint and “many other technical details” on the flaperon tallied with MH370’s maintenance records.
Window panes and seat cushions had also been found near Reunion which were yet to be identified, he said.
French officials, however, have said no other debris has been recovered, and have only said there is a strong possibility that the flaperon came from MH370.
Mr Liow said he understood why the French team had been less categorical in their conclusions over the flaperon, saying: “We respect their decision to continue with their verification.”
China’s foreign ministry said Malaysia must keep investigating the crash and “safeguard the legitimate rights and interests” of relatives.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has been co-ordinating the deep-sea hunt in the southern Indian Ocean, where the plane is believed to have gone down, thousands of miles east of Reunion.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that search would continue as “we owe it to the hundreds of millions of people who use our skies”.