It wasn’t the plane but another unexpected treasure — the body of an old ship resting almost intact at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean.
Wednesday afternoon, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) included an amazing picture of the wreckage in its weekly update on MH370.
“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,” the statement said.
“The Havila Harmony was tasked with further examination of the contact using the AUV [autonomous underwater vessel]. On 2nd of January 2016, the AUV captured high-resolution sonar imagery of the contact, confirming that it was indeed the wreck of a ship.”
The JACC sent the images to the Shipwreck Galleries of the Western Australian Museum, where specialists advised that the ship was likely to be a steel/iron vessel dating from the turn of the 19th century.
The search for the missing Boeing 777 is scheduled to end in June this year “in the absence of credible new information that leads to the specific location of the aircraft”, the JACC confirmed.
The plane disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.
Families of the 154 Chinese and Taiwanese passengers have rejected official statements about the aircraft’s fate, with many asserting their belief their relatives are still alive.
They also dismissed the discovery of a jet-wing part that washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion last July.