Officials have determined that a large, metallic “object of interest” that had washed up near Augusta, Australia was not related to the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that vanished nearly seven weeks ago.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau assessed detailed pictures of the object that washed up roughly 1,000 miles away from the suspected crash site and “it is not a lead in relation to the search for missing flight MH370,” according to this morning’s media release from the Joint Agency Coordination Center.
Meanwhile, the U.S. navy drone Bluefin-21is set to end its first full mission in the southern Indian Ocean after seabed scans of a 10-kilometer zone off the west coast of Australia have failed to give any leads.
As the mission ends, officials will consider moving into a new phase of the search involving new equipment and a larger search area.
Up to 11 military aircraft and 11 ships will be deployed today to aid in the search, which Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said will “always continue”.
“I can confirm in fact we are increasing the assets that are available for deep-sea search,” he said during a news briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“We are not going to abandon … the families of the 239 people who were on that plane by lightly surrendering while there is reasonable hope of finding something,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot also vocalized during a speech earlier this week.
Authorities believe that the search could go on for months or even years.