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Objects seen in jet search are fishing equipment

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Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 walk together after praying at a Buddhist temple in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday March 31, 2014. Relatives from China are in the country to seek answers of what happened to their loved one on board the plane. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 walk together after praying at a Buddhist temple in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday March 31, 2014. Relatives from China are in the country to seek answers of what happened to their loved one on board the plane. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A Chinese relative of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is comforted by a monk as she breaks into tears following prayers at a Buddhist temple in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday March 31, 2014. Relatives from China are in the country to seek answers of what happened to their loved one on board flight MH370. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A Chinese relative of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is comforted by a monk as she cries following prayers at a Buddhist temple in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday March 31, 2014. Relatives from China are in the country to seek answers of what happened to their loved one on board flight MH370. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 pray at a Buddhist temple in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday March 31, 2014. Relatives from China are in the country to seek answers of what happened to their loved one on board flight MH370. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

South Korean Navy Lieutenant Commander Oh Kang-min, right, is pictured wearing a Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search and rescue team patch on his sleeve as he waits to meet Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in front of a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion aircraft at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth Monday, March 31, 2014. Abbott met with members of various international military forces currently searching for the missing plane in the Indian Ocean on Monday. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

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PERTH, Australia (AP) — A cluster of orange objects spotted by a search plane hunting for any trace of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet turned out to be nothing more than fishing equipment, Australian officials said Monday, the latest disappointing news in a weekslong hunt that Australia’s prime minister said will continue indefinitely.

The crew of an Australian P-3 Orion search plane spotted at least four orange objects that were more than 2 meters (6 feet) in size on Sunday, and the pilot, Flight Lt. Russell Adams, dubbed the sighting their most promising lead in the search for Flight 370. But on Monday, Jesse Platts, a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said the objects had been analyzed and officials had confirmed “they have nothing to do with the missing flight.”

It’s a frustrating pattern that has developed in the hunt for the Boeing 777, which vanished on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people aboard: Search crews have repeatedly spotted multiple objects floating in remote patches of the southern Indian Ocean, only for officials to later confirm they aren’t linked to the missing plane.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday acknowledged the search was incredibly complex, but said officials were “well, well short” of any point where they would scale the hunt back.

The search for Flight 370 has evolved over the past three weeks as experts sifted through a limited set of radar and satellite data, moving gradually from the seas off Vietnam, to waters west of Malaysia and Indonesia, and then to several areas west of Australia.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult exercise …. we are searching a vast area of ocean and we are working on quite limited information,” Abbott said, adding that the best brains in the world and all the technological mastery is being applied to the task.

“If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it,” he said.

He said the search that has been going on for more than three weeks is operating on guestimates “until we locate some actual wreckage from the aircraft and then do the regression analysis that might tell us where the aircraft went into the ocean.”

Ten planes were either over the search zone or heading there by late Monday afternoon, and another 10 ships were scouring the area, about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of Australia. More than 100 personnel in the air and 1,000 sailors at sea were involved in Monday’s hunt, with some sections of the 253,000 square kilometer (98,000 square mile) search zone expected to experience low clouds and rain. It takes planes about 2 1/2 hours to get to the area, allowing a five-hour search before they must return to Perth.

Former Australian defense chief Angus Houston on Monday began his job of heading the new Joint Agency Coordination Center, which will oversee communication with international agencies involved in the search. The Perth-based center will position Australia to shoulder more of Malaysia’s coordination responsibilities as the search drags on.

Houston will also play a prime coordination role when victims’ families travel to Australia in the weeks ahead.

Abbott said he was not putting a time limit on the search. “We owe it to everyone to do whatever we reasonably can and we can keep searching for quite some time to come … and, as I said, the intensity of our search and the magnitude of operations is increasing, not decreasing.”

The Ocean Shield, an Australian warship which is carrying a U.S. device that detects “pings” from the flight recorders, was expected to leave Perth on Monday evening for the search zone, a trip that will take three to four days. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said it would first conduct sea

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