A fevered hunt for more wreckage from missing flight MH370 on La Reunion island turned up no new clues Sunday as authorities said metallic debris found by locals did not come from an airplane.
However Malaysia urged authorities in the Indian Ocean region to be on the lookout for debris washing up on their shores as hope flared a piece of a Boeing 777 wing could help solve the mystery of the missing plane.
Locals on La Reunion island have been combing the shores since the wing part was found last Wednesday, handing over bits of what they believe to be wreckage to police.
The discovery of several pieces of debris had earlier sparked excitement, one of which was believed by locals to be from a plane door. However investigators quickly shot down hopes.
“People are more vigilant. They are going to think any metallic object they find on the beach is from flight MH370, but there are objects all along the coast, the ocean continually throws them up,” said Jean-Yves Sambimanan, spokesperson for the town of Saint-Andre where the wing debris was found.
He said islanders were also dumbfounded that after cursory helicopter flights the day after the wing part was found, no official search of the coastline is underway.
Liow Tiong Lai, Malaysia’s transport minister, said civil aviation authorities were reaching out to their counterparts in other Indian Ocean territories to be on the lookout for further debris.
“This is to allow the experts to conduct more substantive analysis should there be more debris coming onto land, providing us more clues to the missing aircraft,” he said.
He also confirmed that the wing part found Wednesday had been “officially identified” as from a Boeing 777, making it virtually certain that it was from MH370.
Flight MH370 is the only Boeing 777 to ever be lost at sea.
Meanwhile, a church service was held at Cambuston church in Saint-André on Saturday in memory of the 239 people on board the flight. More than 400 people attended the service at the church, which is located close to the beach where the first piece of debris was discovered.