MH370: Metal object found ashore in western Australia

Australian Transport Safety Bureau sends photos of metal object to Malaysian investigators

Australian Transport Safety Bureau sends photos of metal object to Malaysian investigators

MELBOURNE, Australia - An object found washed ashore south of Perth, capital of Western Australia, is being examined to determine whether it is wreckage from the missing Malaysian jet MH370, the Australian transport authority has said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced on Wednesday that the "object of interest" appeared to be a sheet of metal about 2.5 meters long with rivets.

The object was found 10km southwest of Augusta city and put under protection, according to local police.

The person who found the object while walking on Scott River beach had reportedly discovered it several days ago, but only notified police on Wednesday.

The bureau also said it had provided photographs of the item to a team investigating the disappearance of the Malaysian flight.

Joe Francis, Western Australia's Minister for Emergency Services, said it was possible the object might have come from the missing flight.

- 'Promising sign'

"It wouldn't surprise me if sooner or later ... there was floating debris that would end up on the West Australian coast," he told a local radio station.

"Anything in that area for over 50 days travelling at two knots - say four kilometers an hour, sooner or later is likely to have been caught up in it [the current]," he added.

On April 11, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott offered the most promising sign yet that the black box from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 had been found -  even as officials in charge of the search operation said it was unlikely signals picked up by a vessel were related to the flight.

Flight MH370 went missing after losing radio contact with Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control after leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8.

The Beijing-bound flight had 239 passengers onboard including 12 flight crew from 14 different countries.

The search for the airliner has so far taken almost 50 days while the black box batteries typically last about 30.

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