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Hunt for plane debris widened

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—A French search plane lifted off today for a bird’s-eye view of Reunion Island, seeking any more potential debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

French authorities said they’ve launched a one-week 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 although investigators from other countries are being more cautious.

The prefect of the French overseas department, Dominique Sorain, said the search would cover an area 120 km by 40 km around the east coast—where the two-metre-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 added 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, definitely was from Flight 370.

In Beijing, about 30 Chinese relatives of Flight 370 passengers marched today 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.

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