World / Asia-Pacific

Australian authorities hesitant to probe photographs that could help find MH370

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-06-21 14:01

CANBERRA - An Australian support group for family members of passengers who were aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has released photographs of personal items this week that could belong to the missing travelers.

Aircrash Support Group Australia (ASGA) has publicly released photographs which were recently found in Madagascar, but Australian authorities were hesitant to investigate the lead which could help rescuers identify where the airliner went down.

A spokesperson from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) told Xinhua on Tuesday that it would be "difficult" to link the items in the photographs to passengers who were on the missing Boeing 777, as there were no names, labels or identifiable markers on the items.

"It would be difficult to identify any item which does not have any unique markings and is not a part of the aircraft structure," the spokesperson said.

ASGA is hoping that family members might be able to positively identify some of the items from the pictures so that authorities will further investigate the whereabouts of the missing plane.

"These pictures are now being made public and the items are being handed to the authorities for further action," ASGA said in a statement on Monday.

However the ATSB said it was hesitant to get involved at this stage; the spokesperson told Xinhua that "Malaysian authorities are responsible for the investigation into the disappearance of MH370 and would possess the most information about those lost aboard the aircraft and their possessions."

The Australian-led search for the missing airplane is set to conclude in early August, when the ocean search in a designated 120,000 square km zone in the Indian Ocean is completed. Currently, search vessels have covered 105,000 square km.

MH370 was a scheduled passenger flight carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, but went missing in the early hours of March 8, 2014.

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