A team searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 found an uncharted shipwreck on the Indian Ocean seafloor.
Wreckage from the ship, including an anchor and lumps of coal, showed up about 3.9 kilometers (2.4 miles) below the surface, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, an Australian government agency, said in an e-mailed statement Wednesday. The debris was in the southern part of a 120,000 square kilometer (46,000 square mile) search area, about a third of the way from Australia to Madagascar, that’s being scanned by sonar.
Man-made objects are rare in the region, which lies away from major shipping lanes close to the turbulent waters of the Roaring Forties. Previous sonar passes have uncovered abandoned shipping containers and volcanic rocks which initially resembled a debris field.
“The majority of the contacts were comparatively small –- around the size of a cricket ball –- interspersed with a few larger items,” the agency said of the shipwreck in its statement Wednesday. The biggest of the objects was “box shaped and approximately six metres in its longest dimension,” it said.
Malaysian Airline System Bhd.’s Flight 370 vanished March 8 last year en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace of the flight and the 239 people on board has been found since.
The shipwreck wasn’t previously charted and imagery will be given to marine archaeologists in an attempt to identify it, the agency said.
Australia, Malaysia and China April 16 agreed to almost double the size of the search area if the plane isn’t found when the current search stage finishes later this month.