'Object of Interest' Washes Ashore in Flight Search

But officials don't have their hopes up

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2014 6:36 AM CDT | Updated Apr 23, 2014 7:37 AM CDT

(Newser) – As the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues, an "object of interest" has turned up in southwestern Australia—but officials are cautioning that it may not offer much of a breakthrough. "It's sufficiently interesting for us to take a look at the photographs," says an Australian official. But "the more we look at it, the less excited we get." An insider tells CNN the object's size is unclear based on photos, but it's "kind of rectangular" with rivets and an apparent fiberglass coating.

Meanwhile, the Bluefin-21 underwater robot has completed more than 80% of its planned search without finding anything, the AP reports. But the overall investigation won't stop anytime soon: Indeed, it could continue for years, CNN notes. "The next phase, I think, is that we step up with potentially a more powerful, more capable side-scan sonar to do deeper water," says Australia's defense minister. Adds Australian PM Tony Abbott. "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."

Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 pray at a hotel conference room in Beijing, China, Friday, April 18, 2014.
Relatives of Chinese passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 pray at a hotel conference room in Beijing, China, Friday, April 18, 2014.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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