French probe: No suspicions of crew, passengers in MH370 crash

MH370 - No suspicions of crew, passengers, says French probe

A French background check of passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which mysteriously disappeared in 2014, has found no cause for suspicion, concurring sources told AFP on Friday.

France has opened its own investigation into the disappearance because four French nationals were among the 227 passengers and 12 crew aboard the flight.

The investigators and three examining magistrates met with relatives of the four on Thursday to brief them on progress.

The relatives were told that background checks on passengers and crew by France's domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI, "turned up negative," according to sources close to the inquiry.

Ghyslain Wattrelos, whose wife and two of his children were onboard, confirmed this account.

"They told us that the search didn't turn up anything," he told AFP.

Questions about passenger and crew background emerged when the Malaysian authorities said two Iranian passengers on the flight had been travelling on stolen passports.

But Interpol said they were most probably migrants trying to reach Europe.

At Thursday's meeting, a French specialist also provided the final version of an interim report that had been drawn up in September, "but it didn't say anything that was much new," Wattrelos' lawyer, Marie Dose, said.

She praised the examining magistrates for their "remarkable" work.

MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

It is believed that the Boeing 777 crashed into the Indian Ocean, but an extensive deep-sea hunt off Australia's west coast has failed to find a single piece of debris.

On Friday, Malaysia's transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai, said the hunt would end in two weeks.

Liow did not specify a date but said a tripartite meeting will be held after a final report is released when the 120,000-square-kilometre (46,000-square- mile) search ends.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which has been leading the search mission, said in a report last month that the jet is almost certainly not in the current search zone and may be further north.

© Provided by AFP Relatives of passengers missing on Malaysia Airlines MH370 hold placards after a joint press conference of the Ministerial Tripartite Meeting on the search for the missing flight outside Kuala Lumpur on July 22, 2016

Malaysia says search for missing MH370 to end in two weeks

Malaysia said on Friday the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will end in two weeks after the search is completed of a 120,000 square kilometer (9,650 sq mile) area where experts thought it went down.

Investigators recommended last month that the search be extended by 25,000 sq km to an area further north in the Indian Ocean, after conceding for the first time they were probably looking in the wrong place. [nL4N1EF02J]

But Malaysia's transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai, told reporters the search of the 120,000 sq km area would be completed but the hunt would then end in the absence of any "credible clue" suggesting it be extended.

The latest report by the search coordinator, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, was due to be completed in a week or two, he said.

"The search mission will end soon and after that," Liow was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama.

The report would be made available online, he said, adding:

"Any decision based on the report will be done later."

Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, most of them Chinese, en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

Its whereabouts have become one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.

Families of many of those on board have called for the search to continue and to be extended to other areas.

The three countries involved in the search - Malaysia, Australia and China - would meet before Jan. 28 to decide on the next course of action, Liow said.

Australia last month also rejected recommendations to extend the search, citing a lack of "credible evidence".

A total of 33 pieces of wreckage suspected to be from the plane have been found, including parts of wings and a tail, on the shores of Mauritius, the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa.

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