Authorities are investigating pieces of unidentified debris that washed up in the Maldives as the Indian Ocean atoll nation has joined the regional search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Maldivian police are now collecting debris that had been spotted by islanders as far as a month ago. They say they were alerted to the sightings on Saturday, after a wing part washed up on the shores of Reunion Island on July 29. Experts who examined the debris in France “conclusively confirmed” that it belonged to the doomed flight MH370, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said last week.
Reunion, a French department of the Indian Ocean, is located 3,200km south-west of the Maldives.
“We are collecting any unidentified debris and storing them in a warehouse so that the Malaysians can carry out tests and determine if it is from their plane or not,” Mohamed Shareef, a minister at the Maldivian president’s office, said in an Independent report.
“We ourselves are not doing any testing, but we have sent photographs of what we found and await their response.”
Residents have reported seeing unusual debris on various islands of the Maldives, the largest one being a 2.4- by 0.6-meter long panel, which appeared on the shores of the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru resort beach around a month ago. The piece is believed have come from a construction site, while others speculated that it’s part of a broken surfboard.
The Maldives Civil Aviation Authority has vowed to thoroughly investigate any unidentified debris nonetheless.