Investigators probe beach debris
Investigators probe beach debris

Debris washed up on a beach near Augusta is not from missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, authorities have said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced the development this morning after extensive examination of detailed pictures of the object.

ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan told ABC radio that investigators would now not go to Busselton to collect and examine the debris.

"We have carefully examined detailed pictures taken for us by police and we are satisfied it is not a lead," Mr Dolan told ABC radio.

Mr Dolan said last night that the debris was "sufficiently interesting for us to take a look at the photographs" but that "the closer we look, the less excited we are".

The material was handed to Busselton police station after a local man found it at White Point, a remote beach accessible only by four-wheel-drives.

The West Australian believes one piece of debris is about 1.8m long and has rivets and a fibreglass coating.

Other reports suggested one of the objects was rectangular, torn and misshapen.

WA Police released a statement confirming the ATSB was examining the photographs to determine whether further physical analysis was required and if there was any relevance to the missing flight MH370.

The ATSB passed the photographs to Malaysian authorities and Boeing for analysis.

Search efforts for MH370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew, are led by the Federal Government's Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre and based in Perth.

JACC confirmed the ATSB was examining photographs of the material.

"WA Police have attended a report of material washed ashore 10km east of Augusta and have secured the material," it said in a statement.

Winthrop professor of coastal oceanography Charitha Pattiaratchi, at the University of WA, told CNN it was possible for the debris to be from MH370.

Augusta-Margaret River Sea Rescue commander Paul Higginson said the area was known for flotsam washed up from the Indian Ocean.

Authorities have previously said it is more likely the prevailing currents would take debris west toward Africa rather than east to the Australian coast.

The search for the Boeing 777 in the Indian Ocean is a multinational effort involving more than 10 countries including Australia, Malaysia, China, Japan, Indonesia and the US sending search teams, aircraft and ships.

JACC said yesterday 80 per cent of a search area 10km in radius around the strongest beacon detected from the black boxes on April 8 had been completed with no sightings of wreckage.

If nothing is found, it is expected that searches will move on to the location of the first ping detected on April 5.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the search would continue while there was a reasonable hope of finding something.

The West Australian

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