PERTH, Australia: Authorities are investigating whether “unidentified material” washed up on the southwest coast of Australia has any link to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, officials said on Wednesday.
“Western Australia Police have attended a report of material washed ashore 10 kilometers [six miles]east of Augusta and have secured the material,” Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Center said in a statement.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is examining photographs of the material
to determine whether it has any links to the search for the missing jet, it added.
The bureau has provided photographs of the material to the Malaysian investigation team.
“It’s sufficiently interesting for us to take a look at the photographs,” ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan told broadcaster CNN, describing the object as appearing to be sheet metal with rivets.
But he added a note of caution. “The more we look at it, the less excited we get,” he added.
The Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it mysteriously diverted.
It is thought to have crashed into the remote Indian Ocean off Western Australia, where a huge search is underway.
Australia said cost was not a concern in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, after the mini-sub plumbing the depths of the Indian Ocean for wreckage ended its ninth mission empty-handed.
Australia is leading the multinational search for the Boeing 777 which vanished on March 8 carrying 239 people, and is bearing many of the costs of the mission expected to be the most expensive in aviation history.