MH370 Search Team Finds Century-Old Shipwreck, Still No Plane

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The body of the ship has seen better days.

The Australian team that’s been looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet since its disappearance almost two years ago announced a new discovery today. Unfortunately, it’s still not the airplane. Although they did find a man-made object, closer inspection revealed it to be a shipwreck — the second the search party has uncovered.

Sonar first detected the wreck’s presence on December 19, the New York Times reports. On January 2, the team followed up with a second sweep using a drone that captured “high-resolution sonar images.” The images were sent to the Western Australian Museum for inspection; experts there said the wreck was most likely a steel or iron ship dating back to the late 19th century.

According to the Times, the wreck was discovered at a depth of 12,100 feet, about 1,600 miles southwest of Fremantle, the Australian port where the search team is based. 

Hopes that the missing plane would be discovered surged last year when a piece of debris from MH370 washed ashore on Réunion Island, but that clue led to a dead end. The hunt is, after all, a logistical nightmare — last year the BBC reported that it takes six days to arrive at the search site in the first place, and then there’s the two-mile dive to the bottom. However, the search team is confident it’s looking in the right spot.

"We think we’ve found the haystack," Martin Dolan, chief commissioner for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, told the BBC. "We just need to find the needle. We can’t give a 100 percent guarantee but we’re certainly giving it our best shot."