More debris said to be found as families express 'serious doubts' that wreckage is from MH370
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Aircraft seat cushions, window panes and other debris have been found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, Malaysia’s transport minister said Thursday, after the Malaysian prime minister confirmed that part of a plane wing found on the French territory last week is from flight MH370.
Liow Tiong Lai told news agency AFP that he cannot verify whether the latest debris belongs to MH370. "It has to be verified by the French authorities," he said.
But a legal source told AFP Thursday that French investigators have not yet received any further pieces of plane wreckage from Reunion island.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said earlier Thursday that a team of international experts has confirmed that the wing component came from the Malaysian Airlines flight which disappeared in March of last year.
The jet mysteriously vanished after inexplicably veering off course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
French prosecutors, however, were more cautious in their initial findings than Razak, saying only that there was a "very high probability" that the wing part, known as a flaperon, was from the missing flight.
They did, however, confirm that the part was from a Boeing 777.
An international team of experts in Toulouse began a second day of tests Thursday on the initial piece of washed-up wreckage.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Paris prosecutor’s office, which has been helping manage the French investigation, told the Wall Street Journal that Malaysian officials have not shared evidence from their criminal investigation into the flight’s disappearance with French investigators.
That includes information surrounding the seizure of a computer from the home of one of the pilots and details about two passengers who were flying on stolen passports.
Friction between Malaysian officials and other participants in the primary investigation has been evident from the very first hours after the jet disappeared. Families of the passengers have been angered by conflicting statements from Malaysia and, at times, Australia.
Chinese relatives of passengers aboard MH370 expressed anger and disbelief on Thursday, saying they had "serious doubts" over Kuala Lumpur's announcement that a wing part found is from the aircraft.
In a handwritten statement posted on Chinese social media and signed "All MH370 passengers' relatives", they demanded a high-level Malaysian government representative meet them and "provide explanations".
Wen Wancheng, whose 34-year-old son was on board, told AFP: "The French examiners were instead very cautious. They haven't drawn a conclusion.
"How can you jump to the conclusion that the plane has crashed simply on the basis of a single piece of debris? It could be pulled from other aircraft."