A crew member looks out an observation window aboard a
Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion involved in the search
for the missing airliner. REUTERS/Richard Polden
Debris picked up on a beach in Western Australia this
week is unlikely to have come from the Malaysian Airlines jet
that vanished nearly seven weeks ago, Australia's transport
bureau said today.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has assessed
the material that washed up on the coast 10km east of the
town of Augusta, near the southwestern tip of Australia, the
bureau's spokesman said.
"It's considered highly unlikely to be from MH370," spokesman
Tony Simes said.
ATSB commissioner Martin Dolan earlier told Australian
Broadcasting Corporation radio that the bureau had examined
detailed photographs of the debris and was satisfied it was
not a lead in the hunt for the plane.
"We're not seeing anything in this that would lead us to
believe that it is from a Boeing aircraft," he told ABC
Authorities have given no details on the material, which was
the first discovery of suspected debris in weeks and the
first since the detection of what were believed to be signals
from the plane's black box flight recorder on April 4.
Seabed scans of a 10 km zone off the west coast of Australia
have failed to turn up any wreckage, but Malaysia and
Australia have vowed to plough on with the search for the
plane that went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
The U.S. navy drone that has been scouring the seabed is due
to end its first full mission in the southern Indian Ocean
Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said
the search authorities would need to "regroup and
restrategise" if nothing was found in the current search
zone, but said the search would "always continue".
"I can confirm in fact we are increasing the assets that are
available for deep-sea search," he told a news conference in
Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, adding that the government was
seeking help from state oil company Petronas, which has
expertise in deep-sea exploration.