More than a year after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, there is still no sign of wreckage. In the meantime, search crews have discovered debris from a previous shipwreck.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Wednesday that a search vessel detected several unexpected objects roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) below the surface. Photos revealed that the debris belonged to a previously uncharted shipwreck.
"It's a fascinating find, but it's not what we're looking for," said Peter Foley, the ATSB's official in charge of looking for MH370.
"We're not pausing in the search for MH370, in fact the vessels have already moved on to continue the mission."
Meanwhile, the wreckage is being examined and identified, but underwater archeologist Michael McCarthy claimed that it likely originated from the Victorian Age.
"Being a fairly common type of cargo ship from the 19th century with no obvious cargo remains there, I doubt that anyone would pay the enormous cost of going down to look at it," McCarthy said.
"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."
The wreckage is one of hundreds vanished during voyages across the Indian Ocean. Marine experts had anticipated that the search for Flight MH370 might yield to such unexpected findings, and there may be more such surprises in store for searchers.
The hunt for the missing airliner has been continuing since its disappearance on March 8, 2014, carrying 239 people on board. The search has focused on the ocean waters off of western Australia.
The search area will be widened by another 60,000 square kilometers (23,000 square miles) if the plane is not found by the end of May.
ss/kms (AP, AFP)