19th Century Shipwreck Discovered By MH370 Search Team In The Indian Ocean

Nearly two years after the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the search for the lost aircraft is still underway. While the case of the missing aircraft still baffles investigators, its search team has managed to unearth other hidden secrets from deep inside the Indian Ocean.

According to a CNN report, an underwater search mission carried out in December to find the MH370 has managed to locate a 200-year-old shipwreck lying at the bottom of the sea. The shipwreck initially showed up as a SONAR anomaly on the ocean floor, after which the search team investigated further — only to realise that the “anomaly” was a 19th century ship that ended up in a watery grave.

The 19th century shipwreck was found by search workers from the Joint Agency Coordination Center, the Australian agency that is co-ordinating the search for the MH370. The center has, in a blog post, detailed how an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) deployed from the search vessel Havila Harmony found the 200-year-old shipwreck on December 19, 2015.

The post reads as follows.

“On 19 December 2015, an anomalous SONAR contact was identified in the course of the underwater search, with analysis suggesting the object was likely to be man-made, probably a shipwreck. Havila Harmony was tasked with further examination of the contact using the AUV. On 2 January 2016, the AUV captured high-resolution SONAR imagery of the contact, confirming that it was indeed the wreck of a ship.”

According to reports, the shipwreck was found nearly 4 kms deep inside the Indian Ocean. The hull of the ship was broken as well. The SONAR image of the shipwreck is posted below.

SONAR image of the shipwreck found by the MH370 search team [Image via ATSB]The detailed SONAR imagery was then shown to officials from The Shipwreck Galleries of the Western Australian Museum, who has conducted some preliminary tests. Initial impressions are that the ship found on the bottom of the sea was made of iron/aluminum, and that it was from the early 19th century. Officials are, however, not been able to identify the ship and to find the history behind its sinking. It is also highly likely that we may not be able to study it in detail at all.

Meanwhile, the search for the MH370 continues. According to PaleoFuture, the Australian Government has spent more than $76 million to scourge the bottom of the ocean floor. The search area where the plane is thought to have gone down 120,000 sq. kilometers (46,000 square miles). So far, the group of searchers have covered an area spread across 80,000 square kilometers (30,000 sq. miles) of the region — with still no clue. To give you some perspective as to how large an area they need to cover, 120,000 square kilometers is roughly the same areas as the state of Pennsylvania.

Almost two years on, with no headway in the investigation and no wreckage recovery, the Austrian government which is leading the efforts is on the verge of frustration. In fact, they have clarified that if there is no clue of the MH370 by the middle of the year, they would be inclined to stop the entire mission. In case the wreckage of the MH370 is found, it is highly likely that the remains would be recovered and a thorough investigation would follow suit.

The mystery of the disappearance of flight MH370 dates back to March 8, 2014. The aircraft, a Boeing 777, was on a routine, scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 239 passengers and crew onboard the ill-fated plane. A few minutes after takeoff, the plane was in the Malaysian air space was on the verge of entering the Vietnamese air space. However, the aircraft was never seen by Vietnamese ATC officials on their RADAR screens. What happened to MH370, its passengers, and crew members still remains a mystery.

[Photo by LEUT Kelli Lunt/Australia Department of Defence/Getty Images]