– Search crews looking for a Malaysia Airlines jet believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean have found the remnants of a shipwreck — including an anchor and possibly a ship’s bell — resting on the seabed almost 2 ½ miles down.

It is not what searchers wanted to find. Paul Kennedy, search director for Fugro Survey, a division of a Dutch company hired by the Australian government to look for wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, said the debris was not from the jet.

“But it’s given us a great deal of confidence,” Kennedy said from the search vessel, the Fugro Discovery. “It shows we are able to find small pins and small pieces of metal on the seafloor, a long way down. Pieces from MH370 would be roughly 10 times as big as that.”

Little was immediately known about the wreck. Kennedy said searchers were still analyzing photographs, which would be sent to a maritime expert who might be able to identify the ship.

The jet, carrying 239 people on a flight to Beijing from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, disappeared on March 8, 2014. Analysis of flight data, signals from the plane and an unanswered satellite phone call from a ground employee to the jet indicate that it fell into the water after running out of fuel.

Despite intensive sea surface and underwater searches, no debris has been found.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is coordinating the search for the plane, said sonar equipment had detected objects scattered across the seafloor. An underwater camera was used to take images from about 26 feet above them.

“It’s a fascinating find,” said Peter Foley, director of the search at the bureau. “But it’s not what we’re looking for. … The vessels have already moved on to continue the mission.” He added, “It’s shown that if there’s a debris field in the search area, we’ll find it.”

New York Times