Officials have confirmed that debris washed up in the Maldives earlier this month is not related to missing flight MH370.
“They are not related to MH370 and not even plane material,” transport minister Liow Tiong Lai told The Star newspaper.
Last Friday, a Malaysian team of experts were sent to the Maldives to examine plane debris washed up on Reunion Island in the western Indian Ocean.
Police have spent over 200 hours covering nearly 10,000 square kilometres of the ocean in search for more debris.
The latest view appears to contradict the Malaysian prime minister’s comments from 10 days earlier.
PM Najib Razak said experts had “conclusively confirmed” the debris, including a large flaperon, came from the Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8 last year.
“Today, 515 days since the plane disappeared, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that an international team of experts have conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found on Reunion Island is indeed from MH370,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said.
“We now have physical evidence that flight MH370 tragically ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” he said.
While Boeing representatives found the debris was consistent with a flaperon from the wing of a Boeing 777 — the same type of aircraft as MH370 — French officials warned authorities were yet to complete their analysis of the wreckage, which was flown to France.
They said there was only a “very high probability” the flaperon was part of the missing flight.
The families of the MH370 victims also responded to the conclusions made by the Malaysian Prime Minister in a statement saying that “most families have refused accept the Malaysian verdict, and are waiting for a more definite and conclusive analysis”.
Meanwhile, authorities on Reunion Island have announced plans to end active air and sea search in the area on Monday.
“No object has been found in the sea that could belong to an airplane,” local official Dominique Sorain told reporters.
Sorain said that if no objects were found by next Monday, authorities would “move to a phase of heightened surveillance”.