Debris Swept Ashore in Australia Not From Missing Malaysia Plane: Report

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 10:33 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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A piece of metal debris found on the southern coast of Australia Wednesday was not from the missing Malaysian plane, authorities have now concluded.

CBS News reported that the metal objects washed ashore near the town of Augusta, roughly 1,000 miles from the suspected crash site where an international coalition of divers and engineers continue the search for flight MH370. One piece of metal roughly the size of a car reportedly appeared to have rivets, making it a candidate for airplane debris.

An initial analysis proved otherwise, however.

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"We do not consider this likely to be of use to our search for MH370," Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, told reporters. "At this stage, we are not getting excited."

Dolan said the debris has been well documented with pictures that were shared with Malaysian authorities.

"The material was found a few days ago, but because we've just had a four-day weekend . . . nothing was done until today," reported CBS Radio News' Scott Mayman.

On Wednesday, search teams confirmed that the U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 underwater drone had scanned 80 percent of the 120-square-mile search zone in the Indian Ocean where signals from a black box were detected in early April.

The signals have since ceased — likely after the batteries died — but, with the help of the Bluefin, the 2.8-mile deep search zone has been imaged in three dimensions by sonar.

Stormy weather continues to impede the search periodically, and the Malaysian and Australian governments have both expressed that they will likely continue the search with more powerful deep sea exploration tools if the Bluefin does not discover any signs of the plane.

"If at the end of that period we find nothing, we are not going to abandon the search, we may well rethink the search, but we will not rest until we have done everything we can to solve this mystery," Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced to reporters.

"We owe it to the families of the 239 people on board, we owe it to the hundreds of millions — indeed billions — of people who travel by air to try to get to the bottom of this. The only way we can get to the bottom of this is to keep searching the probable impact zone until we find something or until we have searched it as thoroughly as human ingenuity allows at this time."

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