An Air France pilot has reported seeing a "white object" floating in the water 45 miles (70 km) off the coast of Reunion Island, where a wing part of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was found in July. The pilot spotted the object from a height of 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) as he was flying to the French island from Paris and alerted authorities, Air France said.

Considering the aircraft's altitude "it must be a voluminous object for the pilot to see it", Agence France-Presse quoted assistant director of the French Civil Aviation Authority on Reunion as saying. Local authorities said they had ordered a merchant ship to search the area where the object was spotted but nothing has been found so far. A military plane has also been deployed in the search.

In late July, a man on Reunion Island spotted a two-metre-long wing part that washed up on a beach. It was later confirmed as a flaperon from the MH370. The plane, with 239 people on board, veered of its course and mysteriously disappeared on 8 March, 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A massive search operation since across vast stretches of the Indian Ocean has yielded little about the aircraft's location.

"Good night Malaysian three-seven-zero", was the last message radioed back by the MH370 flight crew in response to a direction from air traffic controllers in Malaysia to contact controllers in Ho Chi Minh City for the onward flight through Vietnamese airspace. Later Malaysian authorities said a military radar tracked the plane's signal turning back west and flying across the Malaysian Peninsula, up the Straits of Malacca, before flying out of radar range at 2.14 am and vanishing. Investigators who analysed data obtained from the plane and an Inmarsat telecommunications satellite have said the aircraft flew south for hours.