Aircraft seat cushions and window panes have been found on the Indian Ocean island where wreckage from MH370 was recovered last week, Malaysia's transport minister said Thursday.
"We have also found debris like window panes, aluminium foil and seat cushions," Liow Tiong Lai told AFP.
Liow, who later specified he was referring to aircraft seat cushions and "window material", said it remained to be seen whether the items found on Réunion Island were debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.
"They are little parts, but the debris cannot be verified if it belongs to MH370. It has to be verified by the French authorities," he said, adding that the debris had been sent to local authorities for French investigators to examine.
The Paris prosecutor's office, which is spearheading the French inquiry into the crash, said that French investigators had not yet received any new debris. French officials involved in the investigation in Réunion and in Paris also said they were unaware of any new discoveries.
Later Thursday, France announced it would deploy new air and maritime resources off Réunion in the search for more wreckage from the ill-fated MH370 flight as of Friday.
"It has been decided, at the request of the president and the prime minister and to respond to the needs of the inquiry, to deploy supplementary air and sea resources to search for the possible presence of new debris around Reunion," the ministries of defence, transport and overseas territories said in a statement.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak on Wednesday ended a 17-month wait for verified physical evidence from the plane when he announced that a team of international experts had confirmed that a wing component found on Réunion last week was from MH370.
French officials indicated they were less certain, however. At a news conference in Paris, Deputy Prosecutor Serge Mackowiak said only that "the very strong conjectures are to be confirmed by complementary analysis that will begin tomorrow (Thursday) morning".
The Australian government, which has led the seabed search for the wreckage west of Australia, said that "based on high probability, it is MH370".
"We appreciate the French team and their support and respect their decision to continue with the verification," Liow said. He added that Malaysian experts were convinced the flaperon was from MH370 because a seal on the part matched a maintenance record for the plane and the paint colour matched that of the missing flight.
The jet disappeared on March 8 last year, inexplicably veering off course en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
The disappearance created one of the biggest mysteries in the history of aviation, sparking a colossal hunt in the Indian Ocean based on satellite data that indicated MH370's possible flight path.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2015-08-06