France has launched a hunt for more wreckage from the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off Reunion Island, in a fresh effort to shed light on one of aviation's biggest mysteries.

The tiny French Indian Ocean territory has been under intense scrutiny since a beach cleaner found a washed-up wing part last week, which Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak later declared was part of the Boeing 777 that mysteriously vanished 17 months ago.

The flaperon is being examined by experts in France to see if it can provide clues to the last moments of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft that inexplicably veered off course on an ordinary flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

There are hopes that Reunion may yield more debris.


In nearby Mauritius, authorities are also searching for any plane parts that may have landed on their shores.

Dominique Sorain, the top government official in Reunion, said a military transport plane was patrolling the seas off the coast and a ship had set off but had been forced to return because of bad weather.

He said helicopters would also be used, as would soldiers and policemen who will patrol the eastern part of the island where the flaperon was discovered.

"This ... will last a week, after which we will draw our first conclusions," Sorain said.

Since the discovery of the 2m flaperon last week, people on the island have come forward with other objects they think could be plane parts.

Sorain said some of these objects had been sealed while waiting for experts to determine whether they really are bits of aircraft or not.

He said some objects were "the size of a finger".

"The flaperon looked a lot like a part from a Boeing, but for small elements it's much more complex."