MH370 search solves missing ship mystery

While the search for the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has failed to locate the missing plane, the hunt has helped solve other mysteries.

Photographs taken by underwater drones show the locations of two sailing ships that disappeared during the 19th-century.

Experts from the Western Australian Museum have analysed the images, and believe they've identified the wrecks as coal ships.

One is believed to be the brig W Gordon, which disappeared in 1877, or the barque Magdalam, which disappeared in 1882.

"The evidence points to the ship sinking as a result of a catastrophic event such as explosion, which was common in the transport of coal cargoes," the museum's maritime archaeology curator Ross Anderson told WAtoday.

"One very interesting find was a large rectangular metal object of 6m in length, which was the biggest feature discovered on the site. This was identified as a ship's iron water tank."

The other is likely to be the barque West Ridge, which sank in 1883. Both ships would likely have had between 15 and 30 men as crew, and it's possible the families of the captains would have sailed on board too.

"Then, as now, the disappearance of so many lives would have had a devastating impact on maritime families and communities," Mr Anderson told WAtoday.

Another two trawlers which sank in the 20th century were also found.