Debris that washed ashore is not from MH370, investigators conclude
A relative of Chinese passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines MH370 wrapped in a blanket against the cold holds up a sign which reads 'Meet the Commitment' as he protest outside the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China, Friday, April 25, 2014. (AP / Ng Han Guan)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:18AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 11:32PM EDT
CANBERRA, Australia -- The material that washed ashore in southwest Australia appears to not be from the missing Malaysian plane, officials said Thursday.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau examined detailed photographs of the material, apparently sheet metal with rivets, and is satisfied it is not related to the plane, the search co-ordinator said.
The Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing veered off course and disappeared March 8 in a still-baffling mystery and is believed to have crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean. It had 239 passengers and crew.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre also said Thursday a robotic submarine had scanned more than 90 per cent of a 310-square-kilometre search area but has found nothing of interest. The sub is creating a three-dimensional sonar map of the ocean floor near where signals consistent with airplane black boxes were heard.
The next phase of the search is likely to be decided in a week and likely would involve using more powerful towed side-scan commercial sonar equipment, similar to what found the Titanic wreck in 1985.
The search centre also said 11 ships and 11 planes were expected to search nearly 50,000 square kilometres of the ocean surface northwest of Perth on Thursday. Weather had hampered the visual search for the past two days.