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Australian company claims to have found wreckage that could be MH370

An Australian company believes it may have found the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Bay of Bengal - 5000 kilometres from the official search area.

Adelaide-based GeoResonance said it used images from satellites and aircraft to survey an area of more than 2 million square kilometres where the plane with 239 people on board may have crashed.

It said it had found elements on the ocean floor consistent with material from a plane, Channel 7 reported.

"We identified chemical elements and materials that make up a Boeing 777 ... these are aluminium, titanium, copper, steel alloys and other materials," company representative Pavel Kursa said.

Images from the same area taken on March 5, three days before the plane disappeared, showed no indication of the aircraft, David Pope, another company representative, said.

GeoResonance started its search on March 10 and sent an initial report to search authorities when the missing plane's black box still had two weeks of battery power, Channel 7 said.

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Pope said the technology used by GeoResonance was designed to find nuclear warheads and submarines.

"Our team was very excited when we found what we believe to be the wreckage of a commercial airliner," he said.

"We're not trying to say that it definitely is MH370, however it is a lead we feel should be followed up."

Channel 7 said it tried to contact search officials about the company's findings but was unable to get a response.

MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early in the morning of March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later over the South China Sea.

A multinational search effort on its flight route south of Vietnam found nothing before the search moved to the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia based on plottings of automatic maintenance pings from the plane's engines.

That search has now entered a new phase, with authorities saying yesterday the aerial search for the missing plane had been called off while the underwater hunt would be expanded.

No debris from the plane has been found, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday said it was now highly unlikely any wreckage would be found on the ocean surface.

Authorities remained confident signals detected weeks ago were from a black box recorder, he said.

Meanwhile, a recreational pilot from New York has found what he believes to be an intact aircraft off the northeast coast of Malaysia, The Daily Mail reports.

The image was taken days after MH370 disappeared. No one else had noted finding the wreckage at the same spot, he added.

Michael Hoebel, 60, spent hours trawling through images made available to the public on a crowd-sourcing website, TomNod.com, before coming across what he believed was the doomed plane.

He said he started searching for the aircraft because he wanted to help the investigation and the families who had lost loved ones.

He had contacted the FBI and NTSB to share his findings but had not yet had a response.

Fairfax NZ

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