Crews Searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Find Lost Shipwreck
Photo via the Australian Transport Safety Bureau
The search for the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has continued since the plane was reported missing on March 8, 2014, but crews scanning the waters of the Southern Indian Ocean have stumbled upon a previously undiscovered shipwreck.
According to CBSNews.com, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is conducting the search, and crews were combing the ocean waters off Western Australia when one of the vessels using sonar equipment captured the signature of a debris field 2.5 miles below the surface.
While experts did not expect the debris to be from the missing Boeing 777, searchers did their due diligence by sending an autonomous underwater vehicle to the bottom of the ocean to determine the origin of the objects.
Instead of being the wreckage of a plane, the debris field was determined to be from a ship, likely from the mid-to-late 19th century, and Marine archaeologists are studying the images of an anchor and other objects to see if they can determine the origin of this uncharted shipwreck.
ATSB search director for the Flight 370 investigation, Peter Foley, released a statement to CBSNews.com about the find and how it will not impact the hunt for the missing airplane:
“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. 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 catalogue of all the ones lost.”
When officials laid out the search parameters, there were expectations that several undiscovered ship wrecks would be found due to many reported sinkings in the Indian Ocean. Crews have covered 75 percent of the original search area already.
It was reported last month that the ATSB had expanded the search area. The crew that found the previously undiscovered sunken ship was in the southern portion of the new search area trying to cover as many squares miles as possible before winter makes the process even more difficult.
While searchers have not lost hope, the impending winter weather is already making the water tougher to navigate.
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