Australia Casts Doubt on Debris Finding in Malaysian Jet Search

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The debris that washed ashore on the coast of Australia is unlikely to have come from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian officials said Thursday.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has examined "detailed photographs" of the material picked up six miles east of the town of Augusta and is confident "it is not a lead" in the painstaking hunt for the doomed jetliner, according to a news release from Joint Agency Coordination Center, the government organization coordinating the search.

"The more we look at it, the less excited we get," ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan had said earlier. That remark to CNN was confirmed to NBC News by a spokesman for the bureau.

If the material, which has been described as looking like sheet metal with rivets, turns out to be nothing, it would be yet another disappointment for the families of the 239 souls aboard the jetliner, and for people around the world eagerly awaiting an explanation for the lost Boeing 777.

The jet disappeared March 8 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

— Daniel Arkin