Paris, Aug 18: France will reduce its search efforts for debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after a 10-day search of the beaches and coastal waters off Reunion island in the Indian Ocean has turned up nothing new, authorities said today. A wing fragment found on the island last month was the first solid evidence of the fate of the plane that disappeared March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard. (ALSO READ: ‘Missing’ Indonesian plane ‘found’ crashed in Papua)
Malaysian authorities say the piece is part of the plane, though French, US and Australian authorities haven’t definitively identified it. Over the past 10 days, searchers scoured nearly 4,000 square miles (10,360 square kilometers) of ocean using a plane, helicopters and a ship, but found “nothing suspected of having any connection to a plane,” local authorities said in a statement. “In the absence of any new discovery of an object that could interest the ongoing investigation, it seems that the statistical chance of finding any debris from MH370 is extremely weak,” the statement said.
Searchers will now adopt a “watchful vigilance posture” while engaged in other missions in the search zone, authorities said. Nearly 200 police officers on foot patrols also searched nearly the entire east coast of the island for signs of the missing Boeing 777. Several objects have already been sent for further examination. Last week, a local environmental group found a large piece of metal debris on the beach and handed it over to gendarmes for further inspection. Australian forces continue their search for the plane in a desolate stretch of ocean 4,200 kilometers to the east of Reunion, where experts believe the plane crashed killing all aboard.