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Many More Potential MH370 Items Wash Ashore, Officials Not Helping

New evidence in MH370 search as Reunion island officials ignore Malaysia’s pleas for help

As more items, such as three water bottles, wash ashore on France’s Reunion Island, the investigation on whether they are related to MH370 are continuing.

News.AU reports:

Reunion Island lawyer Philippe Creissen lives close to Bois Rouge beach where a 777 flaperon was found last Wednesday.

He found the bottles while walking on the beach on Saturday. One was from Taiwan and the others were from Malaysia.

Mr Creissen posted images of the bottles on social media and on Monday handed them to local police.

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XX Police later contacted him and told him a Malaysian delegation stationed at Reunion was investigating the bottles as part of the official inquiry. Mr Creissen says he has recently noticed an increase in foreign material along the coast St Andre. “I walk along this beach all the time and 99 per cent of the debris that’s here comes from Reunion,” Mr Creissen said. “Recently though, there has been a lot of stuff that is not from here.” Among the other items Mr Creissen has salvaged in the past few days are a medication tube from China.

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The news comes as Malaysian aviation experts met French officials on Monday to coordinate the investigation into MH370.

The Malaysian team arrived at the Palais de Justice in Paris to meet with a French judge, a group of experts and police charged with the investigation. They were due to release a statement after the meeting.

France is leading the current phase of the investigation after a two-metre-long flaperon, already confirmed to be part of a Boeing 777, surfaced on Reunion Island.

Technical experts, including from US aerospace giant Boeing, will begin from Wednesday examining the wing component.

The wing part will undergo physical and chemical analysis and be examined with an electron microscope “that can magnify up to 10,000 times” to try to understand how it was damaged, said Pierre Bascary, former director of tests at France’s General Directorate for Armaments.

However, experts have warned grieving families not to expect startling revelations from a single part.

“We shouldn’t expect miracles from this analysis,” said Jean-Paul Troadec, former head of France’s BEA civil flight authority.

In order to provide clues on what happened to the aircraft, “the part would need to be at the centre of the accident and the chances are fairly small,” he noted.

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On Monday afternoon, the Gendarmerie deployed a helicopter to fly over the east coast looking for debris. Five days after discovering the wing, they are still hoping to spot new pieces, according to LINFO.re.

Mauritius said it would do all it can to search for more debris after Malaysia on Sunday night appealed to islands near La Reunion to hunt for clues.

However Malaysia’s plea for help has fallen on deaf ears in Reunion, where officials are yet to start any salvage efforts.

Instead the mission of hunting for evidence has fallen to the people, who have taken to forming their own search parties.

As well as locals scouring the beaches, volunteer coast guard workers have added scouring the waters for plane debris to their patrols.

Although their main job is to protect human life, Cecile Dupre said her crew of five would also be looking out for evidence of the plane.

“It is no surprise to us that the current could bring something from so far away to our shore,” said sailor Cecile Dupre, president of the local volunteer branch of the national sea rescue association.

“And if the wing was from the Malaysian plane, then I have no doubt there will be more to find, on this island and on the other islands in this region.”

Ms Dupre, whose five person crew patrols off Reunion’s East Coast several times a week also said the changing nature of the ocean currents meant an organised search should begin soon.

“The Indian Ocean is very tricky,” she said.

“Sometimes in an exercise we can have three different waves. It can be flat and then as soon as we are heading east the swell gets huge.”

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This sentiment was echoed by callers to local talkback station Freedom Radio, who questioned the flat-footed response.

“Why aren’t the police or any officials taking charge? Why is there no investigation being done?” one angry caller asked.

“They shouldn’t wait so long or the sea is going take away all the debris.”

As a French territory, Reunion is deferring all requests for help to Paris.

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St Denis mum Maita Nanine said it was the thought of these families that prompted her to bring her daughters to the beach after hearing debris that may have come from the plane had been found. This link was later denied by Malaysian authorities, but Mrs Nanine said she wanted to send a message to those who are most desperate for answer.

“I know that at the moment there are a lot of journalists here and the world is watching, but when everyone is gone, we will keep looking for answers,” she said through an interpreter.

“We will keep looking and try to find the answers for the families.

“It’s not much and I know it will never be enough to ease the pain of those poor people.

“But hopefully when we find some more answers it will bring them some peace, some closure.”

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Meanwhile, a local government official has disputed the story of Reunion local Nicholas Ferrier, who revealed on the weekend he may have burned as rubbish some key evidence of MH370’s fate.

A blue seat and luggage were among the items he claimed to have burned at request of his employer, the local prefecture of St Andre.

But prefecture spokesman yesterday cast doubt on his claims, describing them as “complete fiction”.

“That man does not work for us and we have no record of him,” said Jean Yves Sambimanan.

“I don’t know why but it appears to have been made up.”

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Mr Ferrier yesterday returned to the beach where he first made the claims to give a string of interviews. Among the assorted debris he said he had collected at the beach and could possibly have come from the plane were an inner sole from a running shoe, an old wallet and a frisbee tied with string.

Mr Ferrier also said the wing flap, which council worker Johnny Begue reported to authorities last Wednesday, had been on the beach since May.

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Royce Christyn
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