French authorities said Friday they’ve launched a one-week-long operation with boats and aircraft scouring the Indian Ocean island, where a wing fragment was discovered nine days ago. Malaysian officials say it came from the missing Boeing 777 but investigators from other countries are being more cautious. The prefect of the French overseas department, Dominique Sorain, said Friday that the search would cover an area 120 kilometers (75 miles) by 40 kilometers (25 miles) around the east coast — where the 2-meter-long wing fragment was found.
Sorain said other objects have been found on the island’s beaches since last week and have been removed for examination, but he said officials “don’t know” if these belong to a plane. There remained a difference of opinion between Malaysian officials and their counterparts in France, the U.S. and Australia over whether the wing part, known as a flaperon, was definitely from Flight 370.
In Beijing, about 30 Chinese relatives of Flight 370 passengers marched Friday to the Malaysian Embassy hoping to talk to an official about why Malaysia had confirmed the part came from the plane when French investigators had not. They scuffled briefly with police, who blocked the relatives from approaching the mission. Some criticism came from within Malaysia itself. Opposition lawmaker Liew Chin Tong said in a statement that Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai must explain “the haste and hurry” to declare the wreckage came from Flight 370. “A quick conclusion will not do justice to the next of kin of the victims,” he said.