Search Teams for Flight MH370 Discover 19th Century Shipwreck Instead of Missing Plane

The search vessel Fugro Equator looking for possible wreckage of the mysterious Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean has found on the ocean floor a 19th century shipwreck instead of the supposedly ill-fated plane that disappeared in March 2014.

The deep tow system of the Fugro Equator has detected early this week a cluster of small sonar contacts of potential interest near the so-called 7th arc before another Fugro ship was dispatched to look more closely into the discovery, reports CNN.

The second Fugro ship subsequently dispatched underwater drones to investigate the potential lead. When the drones came back, the images that they brought forth were that of an anchor as well as a destroyed hull of a ship. The wreck was also found to be lying on the ocean floor at a depth of 3,900 meters.

Peter Foley, Director of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau that is also part of the operational search team for MH370, said that they were very cautious about the recent discovery. He said that although the characteristics of the sonar contacts made it unlikely the MH370, they went on with finding it out since the multiple bright reflections also generated interest in a relatively small area of a featureless seabed.

He added that he is a bit disappointed that the sonar data was not able to turn in more positive results leading to the search for MH370 but he assured that the operation shall continue.

The search teams have moved on from the location but already transmitted their findings to marine archaeologists to identify the wreck.

Australian authorities said that they expect to complete searching the current priority zone of 60,000 square kilometers where they believe the Flight MH370 went down within the month. If the search turns out negative, they will expand it to another 60,000 square kilometers zone. The governments of Malaysia, Australia and China are collaborating on the search.

The possible identity of the shipwreck

Meanwhile Michael McCarthy, curator of the Western Australian Maritime Museum, said that it would be very difficult to identify the newly-discovered shipwreck since there are hundreds of such ships that have gone down in the oceans over the centuries.

He added that based on the initial data transmitted to them, the ship is a mid-to-late 19th century wooden-hull, iron sailing ship of unknown origin but likely built in Europe.

Flight MH370

McCarthy said that it is just difficult to identify a shipwreck since the world’s ocean floor has hundreds of lost ships over the course of time either through cyclones, typhoons, among other national occurrences.

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