Missing jet: Unidentified material washes ashore, being checked

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Flight from Malaysia to Beijing goes missingPerth:  The search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that went missing last month took a new twist Wednesday with reports of some unidentified material washing ashore on the southwestern coast of Australia.

“Western Australia Police have attended a report of material washed ashore 10 km east of Augusta (a city south of Perth) and have secured the material,” the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said in its latest update Wednesday afternoon.

“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is examining the photographs of the material to determine whether further physical analysis is required and if there is any relevance to the search of missing flight MH370,” it said.

The ATSB has also provided the photographs to the Malaysian investigation team, the JACC said, adding that no further information was available at this time.

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Meanwhile, planned air search activities were suspended Wednesday due to poor weather conditions in the search area in the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia.

“Three aircraft had already departed for today’s search area prior to the suspension taking effect. They have been recalled,” the JACC said in a stament earlier Wednesday.

“Current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility and are making air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous.”

However, it said that the 12 ships involved in Wednesday’s search operation would continue with their planned activities.

According to the JACC, the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has completed 80 percent of the planned underwater search for the missing jet.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.