Aircraft seat cushions and window panes believed to belong to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion. "We have also found debris like window panes, aluminium foil and seat cushions," Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.
He said the latest debris recovered would be sent to France for testing to established if is part of the airliner, which went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014, with 239 people on board.
Earlier, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said experts in France had confirmed that wing fragments found on the island belonged to flight MH370. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the "baffling mystery" was closer to being solved in the wake of the announcement.
Thus far, searches for remains of the aircraft have focused on an area off the coast of Australia, pinpointed by experts using radio data. Abbott said Australian teams would continue to lead search operations in the area currently being searched, with the Australian Transport Safety Board saying in a statement: "We will continue to search this area thoroughly in the expectation we will find the missing aircraft."
However experts have cast doubt on whether the wreckage can be traced back to its source. "After 16 months, the vagaries of the currents, reverse modelling is almost impossible," Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss warned on 31 July.
Experts leading the investigation in France have stopped short of saying the wreckage definitely belongs to MH370, saying instead that it is highly likely.