The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has made an unexpected discovery of man-made wreckage beneath the Indian Ocean. The wreckage belongs to a 19th century ship, and search authorities believe it has not been charted until the discovery this week.
MH370 search turned up unexpected shipwreck
The Fugro Equator, one of the vessels searching for the missing MH370, has detected a cluster of small sonar in the southern part of the search area in the Indian Ocean. The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau or ATSB has classified the sonar data as Class 2 or “of potential interest but unlikely to be related to MH370.”
“We were cautious about this. There were characteristics of the contact that made it unlikely to be MH370, but there were also aspects that generated interest, multiple small bright reflections in a relatively small area of otherwise featureless seabed. All the sonar data we gather goes through a detailed analysis and an exhaustive review process to ascertain its quality, coverage and most importantly any sonar contacts of interest,” said ATSB’s Peter Foley, Director of the Operational Search for MH370.
Further analysis of the sonar data revealed that it is a man-made shipwreck that was uncharted before.
“It’s a fascinating find, but it’s not what we’re looking for. We’re not pausing in the search for MH370, in fact the vessels have already moved on to continue the mission. Obviously, we’re disappointed that it wasn’t the aircraft, but we were always realistic about the likelihood. And this event has really demonstrated that the systems, people and the equipment involved in the search are working well. It’s shown that if there’s a debris field in the search area, we’ll find it,” Foley said.
19th century shipwreck
The wreckage discovered dates back to a 19th century cargo ship, WA maritime Museum curator Michael McCarthy told the Australian Broadcasting Channel. He said the kind of ship is of unknown origin but of European-style build.
“There are hundreds of ships lost in our world’s oceans over time, through old age, cyclones, typhoons and one would expect this to occur. You have these vessels say from a place like Fremantle which takes a notice of its lost ships, but you will find other countries that probably haven’t kept the same records, [so] we are in a bit of trouble trying to do that,” McCarthy explained.
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