MH370 Search Team Finds Something: a Shipwreck
Debris field reveals European-style ship, anchor, coal
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2015 6:00 AM CDT
In this April 13, 2014, photo taken from the Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2-Orion aircraft, a co-pilot searches for debris from Flight 370 in the Indian Ocean off the coast of western Australia.   (Greg Wood/Pool Photo via AP)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The massive search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has turned up not a plane, but an uncharted shipwreck. Sonar equipment detected "multiple small bright reflections" 2.5 miles below the surface of the Indian Ocean more than 600 miles off the coast of western Australia, AFP and ABC Australia report. Though crews believed the debris field probably wasn't an aircraft, an unmanned sub was sent to investigate what turned out to be a wreck, anchor, and apparent lumps of coal, reports the AP. "It's a fascinating find, but it's not what we're looking for," the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's search director says. "We're not pausing in the search for MH370; in fact, the vessels have already moved on to continue the mission."

He adds the find shows "if there's a debris field in the search area, we'll find it." Marine archaeologists, meanwhile, will examine photographs of the wreck in an effort to identify it. One archaeologist says it was likely a common, European-style cargo ship built in the second half of the 19th century, but little else has been determined. "We've got quite a lot of stories about ships that sank in the Indian Ocean mid-voyage and you would be struggling to tell which is which unless you had a complete catalog of all the ones lost," he says, adding, "I doubt that anyone would pay the enormous cost of going down to look at it." (The Flight 370 search area has just doubled in size.)