The Courier-Mail

‘No chance MH370 debris in Maldives’

- ROBYN IRONSIDE

THE confirmati­on that wreckage found on Reunion Island is from MH370 makes it impossible for debris in the Maldives to be from the same aircraft.

And wind and current patterns would prevent debris in the southern hemisphere crossing the equator to wash up in the Maldives, according to an oceans expert.

Hopes were raised over the weekend that more wreckage had been found, with reports that a range of unidentifi­ed items, including a large piece of panelling, had been collected by locals from the Maldives’ northern atolls in recent weeks.

Malaysia has formally asked the Maldives to assist in the search.

But University of Western Australia oceanograp­her Charitha Pattiaratc­hi said the collected items now being stored for testing could not have come from the southern Indian Ocean.

“If the debris originated from where we’re talking about in the southern hemisphere, none of it actually goes northwards,” Prof Pattiaratc­hi said. “It can’t cross the hemisphere­s because of the wind and the current patterns.”

He said it would be very difficult to explain how debris from MH370 could end up on Reunion Island and also cross the equator to wash up in the Maldives.

Almost as confoundin­g was the claim that a flaperon – confirmed by Malaysia has being from MH370 – could have washed up on Reunion Island as early as May.

The item was only handed to police on July 29 by a beach worker.

Prof Pattiaratc­hi said doubt about the timing made it harder to define the search area. “If you don’t even know the date when it washed up on the beach, you don’t know what currents it was subjected to,” he said.

But he said the search area being scoured by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was the right one.

The underwater search is due to resume tomorrow.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 disappeare­d on March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 239 people on board.

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