By Suman Varandani
A French military transport crew member inspects the Indian Ocean during a search mission along the coast on the French island of Reunion for missing Flight MH370, in this handout picture provided by the French Army on Aug. 11, 2015.
Most of the debris recently discovered in the Maldives is "not related" to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said Friday. The Maldives launched a search operation for the wreckage of Flight MH370 after debris was spotted on the island nation’s shores last week.
The Maldives' authorities are paying attention to any sightings of debris after the discovery of a flaperon on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean last month. A team of Malaysian investigators arrived in the Maldives this week to examine the debris, which was later sent to Kuala Lumpur for further analysis.
"The Malaysian investigation team have arrived in Maldives and witnessed what they call the debris. Most of the debris is negative. They are not related to the MH370, and they are not plane material," Liow reportedly said. He added that the Malaysian team was still sifting through the material and any object believed to be aircraft debris will be handed over to the investigators.
On Tuesday, the captain of a barge that wrecked off the Maldives' coast earlier this year said that the debris found on the island is not from the missing plane, but most likely from a capsized boat.
Some experts also said it was impossible for MH370 wreckage to wash up both on the Reunion Island and in the Maldives.
"If the debris originated from where we’re talking about in the Southern Hemisphere, none of it actually would have gone northward," University of Western Australia oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi told News.com.au, earlier this week. “It can’t cross the hemispheres because of the wind and the current patterns.”
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau reviewed its analysis and said last week that the discovery of aircraft debris on Reunion Island, nearly 17 months after the disappearance of Flight MH370, "is consistent with the current underwater search area in the southern Indian Ocean."
Last week, Malaysian officials confirmed that the flaperon found on Reunion Island was from Flight MH370, but Australian and French authorities have only said that it is from a Boeing 777, the same type as the missing plane, and that its origin is yet to be determined. Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said Wednesday that the flaperon in “all probability” was from the Boeing 777-200, which went missing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.