KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will send a team to the Maldives to determine whether debris reportedly found there is further wreckage from flight MH370, the transport minister said Monday.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysia had been “officially notified” by authorities in the Maldives of objects found there, whose origin remains unverified.
“We will be dispatching a team to the Maldives to view the debris as well as conduct preliminary verification of the debris,” he said in a statement.
“At this stage, it is highly premature to speculate on whether this debris is in any way connected to MH370.”
The Maldives has joined a regional search for wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight following reports that islanders in the Indian ocean atoll nation had spotted unidentified debris, police there said Sunday.
Maldivian police said they received reports of several sightings of items washed up along the northern atolls of the archipelago, some of which occurred about a month ago.
There is new attention on seaborne debris in the Indian Ocean after Malaysia last week said a wing part that washed ashore on the French island of Reunion came from the ill-fated plane.
That marked the first confirmed evidence that the jet, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew, met a tragic end in the Indian Ocean in March 2014.
After that discovery, the Malaysian authorities alerted nearby Madagascar and the South African coast to be on the lookout, saying it was possible debris would wash up in those locations.
Mauritius has also joined the search.
Mohamed Shareef, a minister at the Maldivian president’s office, said officials were collecting unidentified debris for closer examination by experts.
The Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8 last year, sparking the largest multinational search operation in history, now focused on the southern Indian Ocean based on satellite data hinting at the plane’s path.