Mystery lost Scots ship may be solved in MH370 search

Last attempt to find MH370 starts this week

The two shipwrecks discovered have been identified as 19th century merchant sailing vessels which are believed to have been carrying cargoes of coal.

The wrecks were found in 2015, seven months apart at about 1,429 miles off the coast of Australia.

"One very interesting find was a large rectangular metal object of 6m in length, which was the biggest feature discovered on the site".

A sonar image of a shipwreck found on the ocean seabed.

No sign of the jet was found in the area during the largest search in aviation history, which was suspended in January previous year - but the Australian-led hunt did come across two wrecks, the deepest at 3,900 meters.

On board the doomed MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing were six Australians, however the hope for any survivors dwindled years after the aviation disaster on March 8, 2014.

According to the Associated Press in Canberra, the wooden ship McCarthy described is believed to be one of two ships: the brig W. Gordon, which disappeared in 1877 while traveling from Scotland to Australia, or the barque Magdala, which went down in 1882 en route from Wales to Indonesia.

Maritime historians on Thursday published a short list of the possible identities of two shipwrecks found during the initial 710,000-square kilometer (274,000-square mile) three-year search for the Boeing 777 that was lost in 2014 with 238 people aboard.

Sifting through debris including a coal sample and surviving anchors enabled researchers to identify West Ridge, built in Glasgow in 1869, as the likeliest candidate.

The West Ridge, a 220-foot iron barque, was transporting a shipment of coal in 1883 from the United Kingdom to India but never reached its final destination.

If it weren't for the massive scale of the search for Flight MH370, however, the two shipwrecks might never have been found. "The evidence points to the ship sinking as a result of a catastrophic event such as an explosion, which was common in the transport of coal cargoes", Anderson added.

Dr Anderson said the object has been identified as a water tank, while sonar and video images revealed the ship had two decks and weighed somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 tonnes.

The second wreck was more intact, lying upright on the seabed.

The wrecks provide strong archaeological evidence for a busy trade route between Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia, powered by the "Roaring 40s" - strong westerly winds that propelled ships across the Indian Ocean. According to the agreement, if the company turned up the plane's wreckage or black boxes, the government would pay it up to $70 million; if not, there would be no fee.

A private U.S. firm began another search for the plane earlier this year.

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