Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC), the government body leading the country's search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said Tuesday that the latest evidence from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean could refine the search area for the wreckage.
Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, disappeared on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, in March 2014, and debris found washed up on Reunion Island last week has reignited hopes of finding the missing jet. A representative for JACC told Xinhua Tuesday that any information about the debris that washed up on the island could help authorities refine the search area that currently covers a 120,000-square-kilometer (46,332 square miles) zone in the southern Indian Ocean. The JACC also said that the search efforts would be enhanced after the weather in the region improves, as the current winter swells continue to disrupt operations.
"Any new information that comes to hand that might help refine the search area will be incorporated into search planning. [But] all information is analyzed to further inform ongoing search efforts," the representative told Xinhua.
"The JACC will continue to coordinate the Australian government's support for the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. In doing so, the JACC will continue to work closely with the government of Malaysia, which under international law has overall responsibility for the search and investigation," the representative added.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines CEO Christoph Mueller said the company is cooperating with the investigation to determine if a flaperon -- found last week on the island -- did indeed belong to MH370. It had been earlier determined that the flaperon was part of a Boeing 777. The wreckage has been reportedly taken to a military laboratory in the French city of Toulouse, which specializes in plane crash investigations, and will be examined Wednesday.
Mueller refused to divulge if the company sent its people to Toulouse but said the company has cooperated “from day one of the MH370 investigation,” News Corp Australia reported Tuesday.
Mueller added that media coverage of the missing plane had affected passenger traffic for the airline. “MH370 reporting is more pronounced in the Australian market than other markets, and that correlates to social media hype,” he said, according to News Corp Australia.
Malaysia Airlines, which has been struggling after the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the shooting down of Flight MH17 last July, will fly from Brisbane to Kuala Lumpur for the last time Saturday. More services of the company could be stopped in the coming months, Mueller reportedly said.
The island of Mauritius, which lies about 140 miles northeast of Reunion, said that it would do everything possible to search for the debris of MH370, according to BBC. While the country's coastguard is on the lookout, local fishermen have been told to contact the police if they spot any wreckage.