Plane Window, Other Debris Found on Reunion Island

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Los Angeles Times/TNS) -
People walk on the beach of Saint-Andre, Reunion Island, in the hope of finding more plane debris, Thursday.  (AP Photo/Fabrice Wislez)
People walk on the beach of Saint-Andre, Reunion Island, in the hope of finding more plane debris, Thursday. (AP Photo/Fabrice Wislez)

Malaysian recovery team on the French island of Reunion has collected an aircraft window and other plane parts but could not immediately confirm whether they belonged to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Thursday.

They were among “many items collected” from the Indian Ocean island where part of a wing was found last week, Liow said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said early Thursday that the wing part, known as a flaperon, was confirmed to have come from Flight 370, which disappeared without a trace 17 months ago with 239 people aboard.

Liow told reporters that the new debris was sent “to the French authorities for verification,” news agencies reported.

Following Razak’s announcement, Malaysia Airlines said it had informed family members of the passengers and crew of Flight 370 that the debris found on Reunion island was from the missing aircraft.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to those affected,” the airline said in a statement.

Malaysia’s decision to announce its findings ahead of investigators from France, Australia and the U.S. angered some family members of the missing, who have waited more than a year for concrete clues to the fate of the aircraft, which took off from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Writing on social media sites, families of Flight 370 passengers and crew said the Malaysian announcement did not resolve their questions about the airliner.

“Families are prepared for any eventuality,” read one post. “But…the French and Boeing must say it is from MH370 without a doubt. We are not living in denial…but we owe it to our [loved] ones not to declare them lost without 100 percent certainty!”

A small group of Chinese family members protested in Beijing at the Malaysia Airline office and then the Boeing office.