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MH370 search resumes on France’s Reunion island

By AFP - Aug 09,2015 - Last updated at Aug 09,2015

In this photo released on Friday by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office, a crew member looks out of the airplane door aboard a CASA 235 plane from the 181st Air Detachment of the French Air Force taking part in the search for wreckage from the missing MH370 off the coast of the French island of La Reunion (AP photo)

SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION — The hunt for more wreckage from the missing MH370 resumed on France's Reunion island in the Indian Ocean on Sunday after being suspended due to bad weather, local officials said.

A search plane circled overhead and foot patrols combed the eastern coastline of the island, resuming a hunt that had been halted on Friday evening. 

Although the sun was shining again on Sunday, the local government office said navy vessels would only be mobilised if debris was spotted at sea.

Rough weather had forced a search ship to turn back on Friday, leaving the plane alone to scan a giant area of ocean and coastline measuring an estimated 5,300 square kilometres.

A wing part was found on the island in late July and confirmed by the Malaysian prime minister to be part of the Boeing 777 which went missing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people onboard.

The hunt continued to attract amateur investigators to the beaches and coastline of the island on Sunday. 

"Maybe it's a step," said one local, brandishing an aluminium bar, while another said he was looking for "souvenirs".

"There's a sort of treasure hunt mentality that is spreading and which we want to remind everyone often leads nowhere," said a source close to the investigation. 

Even the Malaysian authorities appeared to be mistaken last week when they announced that a seat and window from the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight had been discovered. French investigators say no new items have been found.

Saint-Andre, the town of 50,000 where the wing part washed up, has had a surreal fortnight as the world's media has suddenly descended in droves. 

A special mass was held in the town last week for the 239 victims of the Flight MH370, and the local mayor issued a statement saying they were ready to welcome their families if they wished to come to Reunion. A monument to the victims is also planned.

The island authorities are using a small military transport plane for the search and also have three police and navy helicopters, and three boats at their disposal. 

 

In nearby Mauritius, authorities are also searching for any possible plane parts that may have landed on their shores.

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