Debris found in Mozambique 'highly likely' to be from MH370

Story highlights

  • Investigators conclude that two pieces of wreckage found in Mozambique likely from missing plane
  • Results come shortly after a suspected piece of engine cowling is found in South Africa

(CNN)

Two pieces of debris found in Mozambique are "highly likely" to be wreckage from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
    Australian officials made the announcement Thursday following the completion of the examination of the two pieces.
    "The analysis has concluded the debris is almost certainly from MH370," said Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester.
    MH370 disappeared more than two years ago en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.
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    The pieces of debris were found separately by a U.S. lawyer and a South African teen in March and sent to Malaysia for examination.
    A Malaysian investigation team found that both pieces of debris were consistent with panels from a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, Chester said.
    At least one other piece, discovered on the western Indian Ocean island of Reunion in July 2015, has been confirmed to have come from the missing plane.
    The findings were echoed by Malaysian Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai.
    "The dimensions, materials and construction of both parts conform to the specifications of a Boeing 777 aircraft," a statement from the minister said.
    It also notes that the paint and stenciling on both parts match those used by Malaysia Airlines.
    "As such, both parts are consistent with panels from a MAS Boeing 777 aircraft, and almost certainly are from MH370."
    Malaysia Airlines said it welcomed the findings.
    "This is another breakthrough and the airline is hopeful that this will bring us closer to resolving the disappearance of MH370," a statement from the airline reads.
    "Malaysia Airlines would like to thank the Australian and Malaysian authorities and other investigating parties involved in the logistical arrangements and analysis of the debris, as well as the continued search for MH370.
    "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the passengers and crew onboard MH370."

    Families react

    Families of those who lost relatives on the ill-fated flight responded with mixed reactions to the news that more parts of the plane have likely been recovered.
    "Personally, I think all this information is useful for us in finding the plane," said Steve Wang, a Beijinger whose mother was on board.
    However, Jiang Hui said the plane debris sheds little light on what happened to his mother.
    "Finding the plane debris isn't equal to finding our loved ones," he told CNN.
    "If they can find debris in as far away as Africa, the authorities should reassess their search area and their hypothesis."

    New finds

    The news comes shortly after a piece of what appears to be a Rolls Royce engine cowling was found on a beach in South Africa, which investigators are also interested in examining to determine if it came from the doomed airliner.
    Blaine Gibson, the American lawyer who found one of the two pieces in Mozambique, had chartered a boat and organized a private trip to search for the plane earlier in the year.
    "I am hopeful that the debris I found can help provide some clues and answers to the families and to the investigators about what happened to the plane and approximately where it is," he told CNN, upon learning of the results of the investigation.
    "But I can't say I'm happy because it shows that the plane crashed and probably with a forceful impact, because the piece was torn and shattered."
    Liam Lotter, a South African teenager, said he found a piece during a family vacation in the east African nation in December, and took it home with him when the vacation ended.
    He had forgotten about it until his uncle showed him a story about Gibson's find, several months later.
    "That's what made me think about it again," Lotter said.
    "It is good to see that the debris is likely to be from M370. I hope it can be investigated further. It's good that more pieces are being found but we can't just stop here, people need to keep looking, keep finding more stuff. There is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of square miles to cover.
    "I hope it helps the families to get some closure and it helps them to feel better. If I was them I'd want people to investigate it further and keep looking."