MH370: Maldives debris bound for Malaysia

Story highlights

  • Malaysia: "Highly premature" to speculate that debris on Maldives is from MH370
  • Captain tells local media he thinks Maldives debris is from his capsized barge
  • The Maldives is farther north than Australian models estimate debris would have drifted

(CNN)Debris found recently on the Maldives will be sent to Malaysia, where investigators will determine whether it comes from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 or some other aircraft, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters in Shah Alam on Wednesday.

Malaysia's interest in the debris on the Indian Ocean archipelago comes after part of an aircraft wing was found last month on Reunion Island, situated 1,740 nautical miles to the southeast in a different part of the ocean.
    Malaysia says the wing part found on Reunion, known as a flaperon, has been conclusively confirmed to be from Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014 with 239 people on board.
    But French authorities overseeing the analysis of the object say that although there is strong evidence to support that belief, they need to do more tests to be absolutely sure.
    Earlier this week, Liow cautioned that it was "highly premature to speculate on whether (the Maldives) debris is in any way connected to MH370."
    In his talk with reporters on Wednesday, Liow did not address whether Malaysian teams that had been ordered to travel to the Maldives to examine the debris had already given an initial assessment.

    Searches continuing around Reunion

    France is searching in an around Reunion, which lies off the east coast of Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean, to look for more potential debris.
    MH370 debris search continues on Reunion Island
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    And authorities on the island of Mauritius, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) east-northeast of Reunion, have also been searching.
    A lot of debris has been turned in to authorities on Reunion for verification. But so far, no leads as strong as the flaperon have been reported.
    The remnants of a suitcase discovered the day after the flaperon have been sent to a French lab for testing.

    Maldives far outside Australian models for debris drift

    According to models calculated by Australia, which is in charge of the underwater search for the wreckage of MH370, debris from the plane wouldn't have made it as far north as the Maldives.
    Australian officials say Reunion is within the range of where debris from the missing plane could have drifted over the months from the remote area of the southeastern Indian Ocean where the aircraft is believed to have gone down.
    But the Maldives, situated off the southern tip of India, are in a different part of the ocean. The archipelago is thousands of kilometers northwest of the area of ocean that Australia is searching.
    The Australian drift models suggest the winds and ocean currents would have pushed the aircraft debris in a predominantly westerly direction, toward southern Africa.
    Maldivian authorities say they have been sending photos of debris found on the islands to Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation. Police have retrieved and placed items reported to them in a storage space in Male, the capital, said Mohammed Shareef, an official in the Maldivian President's office.