November 28, 2018 / 1:20 PM / 18 days ago

Relatives of missing from Malaysia plane say they may have found pieces of debris

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Relatives of people who went missing on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in 2014 have retrieved what they believe are new pieces of debris from the aircraft and will present them to the Malaysian government this week.

FILE PHOTO - French gendarmes and police stand near a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. REUTERS/Zinfos974/Prisca Bigot

Flight MH370 was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, when it disappeared and became one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.

Malaysian and international investigators believe the jet veered thousands of miles off course from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

But no one knows why.

In all, 27 pieces of aircraft debris have been collected from various places around the world but only three wing fragments that washed up along the Indian Ocean coast have been confirmed to be from MH370.

The next of kin said in a brief statement on Wednesday they would meet Malaysia’s transport minister on Friday “to hand over newly recovered debris”.

Calvin Shim, whose wife was a crew member on the plane, told Reuters that the group planned to hand over five pieces of debris found off Madagascar, where some debris has been found before.

The most recent discovery was in August, he said.

In May, Malaysia called off a three-month search by U.S. firm Ocean Infinity, which spanned 112,000 sq km (43,243 sq miles) in the southern Indian Ocean and ended with no significant findings.

It was the second major search after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200 million ($144.80 million) search across an area of 120,000 sq km (46,332 sq miles) last year.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said in May that the country would consider resuming the search only if new clues come to light.

In July, investigators released a 495-page report, saying the plane’s controls were likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course but they were not able to determine who was responsible.

(The story corrects by adding dropped word in headline).

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Robert Birsel

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