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Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

Canberra,Australia: The debris found on a beach in Western Australia is not linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) official said Thursday.

"We've carefully examined detailed photographs that were taken for us by the police and we're satisfied that it's not a lead in the search for MH370," ATSB spokesperson Martin Dolan was quoted as saying on ABC radio Thursday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The debris found on a beach 10 km east of Augusta, near Margaret River, on the south-west coast of Western Australia, appeared to be sheet metal with rivets, the spokesperson said.

"From our point of view, we're ruling it out. We'll get some further details just to be sure but at this stage we're not seeing anything in this that would lead us to believe that it comes from a Boeing aircraft."

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), which is overseeing the search for the plane that disappeared March 8, said Wednesday that the Western Australian police had taken possession of the debris.

It was reported that the person who found the object initially kept it for a day or two before taking it to the Busselton Regional Airport for inspection.

The object was taken to Busselton Police Station Wednesday.

Up to 11 military aircraft and 11 ships are planned to assist in the continued search effort Thursday. However, rough seas and poor visibility may hamper the search.

The centre of the search area lies approximately 1,584 km north-west of Perth.

The autonomous under water vehicle, Bluefin-21 AUV, is completing mission 12 in the underwater search area.

It has now completed more than 90 per cent of the focused underwater search area and no contacts of interest have been found.(IANS)

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