The undersea search for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has found a second 19th-century shipwreck deep in the Indian Ocean off the west Australian coast, officials say. A sonar search about 1,600 miles southwest of the Australian port of Fremantle found what appeared to be a man-made object on Dec. 19, says the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is running the search for the Boeing 777. A follow-up investigation using an underwater drone captured high-resolution sonar images on Jan. 2 that confirmed the find was a shipwreck. Museum experts conducted a preliminary review of the images and advised that the wreck was likely to be a steel or iron ship dating from the turn of the 19th century, the bureau says.
The sea hunt similarly found what appeared to be a man-made object in March last year. But it wasn't until May that a closer look confirmed it was not plane wreckage but the wreck of a cargo ship built in the mid-to-late 19th century. Hundreds of such ships were lost during voyages across the Indian Ocean. Neither ship is likely to be identified because of the cost of mounting closer examinations. Apart from a wing flap found in July on the other side of the Indian Ocean when it washed up on Reunion Island, nothing of Flight 370 has been found. Searchers have been combing a 46,000-square-mile part of the Indian Ocean since late 2014. The search is scheduled to be wound up by the middle of the year if nothing else of Flight 370 is found. (More on the search here.)