A new debris item found on France’s Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean two weeks ago is “unlikely to be from an aircraft,” Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said Wednesday. As the deadline neared for the search of Flight MH370’s wreckage, three wreckages surfaced over the past two weeks in the southeast African nation of Mozambique and on Réunion Island.
Australian authorities said that they were awaiting the arrival of two debris items found on the beaches of Mozambique. The first debris was found by an American citizen on a sandbank in the Mozambique Channel — the ocean strait between Mozambique and Madagascar, while the second was discovered by a South African teenager during a holiday on the beaches of Mozambique.
“Both items will be examined by investigators from Australia and Malaysia, as well as specialists from Boeing, to confirm if they come from an aircraft and establish their origin,” ATSB said, in the statement.
The statement also added that Malaysian authorities are in contact with French authorities about the third debris item that was found on Réunion Island, where a flaperon belonging to a Boeing 777-200 jet, the same type as the missing Flight MH370, was found last July.
French authorities are yet to release the investigation report on the wing flap found on Réunion Island on July 2015.
However, authorities raised doubts over the debris links to Flight MH370, which went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
ATSB said in its latest search update that four vessels — Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator, Havila Harmony and Dong Hai Jiu 101 — are scouring the ocean floor to find the missing plane.
Search vessels have so far scoured 34,749 sq. miles of the total 46,332 sq. miles of designated search area, while authorities have said the search is due to be called off in June if no wreckage is found. The multimillion-dollar search for the plane has so far yielded no concrete clues as to what happened to the jet.
“In the absence of credible new information that leads to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft, governments have agreed that there will be no further expansion of the search area,” ATSB added in its search update.