Debris washed up in Australia not from missing Malaysia Airlines MH370: ATSB

A piece of debris that washed up off Australia's south coast has been dismissed as being from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A piece of debris that washed up off Australia's south coast has been dismissed as being from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.PHOTO: ST FILE

SYDNEY (AFP) - A piece of debris that washed up on a remote island off Australia's south coast was ruled out on Wednesday (June 22) as coming from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The item was found earlier this month among seaweed and driftwood and resembled part of a plane, with the words "Caution No Step" visible, according to footage on Australia's Channel Seven.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is coordinating the search, examined the debris and dismissed it as being from the jet that vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board.

"Information received from the manufacturer indicates the item is not consistent with the manufacturing specifications of a Boeing commercial aircraft," the bureau said in a statement.

Two other pieces of debris found around the same time on the Madagascan island of Nosy Boraha and handed to the ATSB are still being examined.

The fate of the plane, presumed to have crashed at sea while travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, remains a mystery.

Wild weather continues to hamper the search operation's progress, with one of three ships involved sustaining damage to a tow cable.

So far 105,000 sq km of the designated 120,000 sq km seafloor search zone has been covered without success.

If nothing turns up once the area is fully scoured, expected by August, the search will be abandoned, Australia, Malaysia and China - the countries that most of the passengers came from - have jointly said.

Officials from the three countries met in Malaysia this week to further discuss the issue, but the talks wrapped up with no announcements.

As the meeting began on Monday, an international network of MH370 next-of-kin released a statement repeating its call for the search to be extended.