An Air France pilot has reported seeing “a white object” floating in the Indian Ocean about 70 km northwest of Reunion Island, where debris from the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 washed up two months ago.
The white object is presumed to be large, as the Air France flight was at an altitude of 3000 metres (close to 10,000 feet), a height from which only big or bulky objects show up in the sea below.
Authorities diverted a merchant ship to the area and flew an aircraft over it at low altitude, but so far have found nothing, Siva Vadivelou, assistant director of the French Civil Aviation Authority on Reunion Island, told CNN.
French investigators have confirmed that a wing part that washed up on a beach in Reunion – a B777 flaperon – was definitely from MH370. It is the only piece of the doomed airliner that has ever been found.
On 8 March 2014, MH370 disappeared from air traffic control radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on a scheduled passenger service to Beijing, China with 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard. Its disappearance, considered the result of foul play rather than accident, has become the greatest mystery in the history of civil aviation.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has been leading the underwater search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
After analysis of satellite data it was discovered that MH370 continued to fly for over six hours after contact was lost. All the available data indicates the aircraft entered the sea close to a long but narrow arc of the southern Indian Ocean.
On 31 March 2014, following an extensive sea and air search, the Malaysian Government accepted the Australian government’s offer to take the lead in the search and recovery operation in the southern Indian Ocean in support of the Malaysian accident investigation.
Written by Peter Needham