France to conduct MH370 searches off Reunion until Monday

SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION - France will conduct air and sea searches off its Indian Ocean territory of Reunion until the start of next week for debris from missing flight MH370, the island's top official said on Wednesday.

A wing part was found on July 29 on the French territory 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.

"Coordinated searches will continue until the beginning of next week," the island's top authority said in a statement adding that searches so far had yielded "no significant elements."

He said the searches would be shifted to the periphery of the initial area scoured, especially to the south.

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.

Since Monday, there have been a total of 45 and a half hours of land searches and 15 hours of maritime and air searches.

The search was launched on Aug 7 and had to be suspended due to bad weather before resumed.

The Maldives has joined a regional search for wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight following reports that islanders in the Indian had spotted unidentified debris.