World / Asia-Pacific

Debris 'almost certainly' from Malaysia's MH370

(Agencies) Updated: 2016-03-25 02:29

Two pieces of debris recently discovered along the coast of Mozambique are "almost certainly" from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian and Malaysian officials said on Thursday.

An analysis of the parts by an international investigation team found that both pieces are consistent with panels from a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, Australian Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester said in a statement.

"The analysis has concluded the debris is almost certainly from MH370," he said.

In a separate statement, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the dimensions, materials and construction of both parts conform to those of a 777, and the paint and stenciling on both parts match those used by Malaysia Airlines.

The discovery of the two pieces provides another piece of the puzzle regarding the plane’s fate, and it bolsters authorities’ assertion that the plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean. But it is still uncertain whether the debris can provide any clues into exactly what happened to the aircraft and why.

Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board and is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean about 6,000 kilometers east of Mozambique. Authorities had predicted that any debris from the plane that isn’t on the ocean floor would eventually be carried by currents to the east coast of Africa.

Until now, the only other confirmed piece of debris from the Boeing 777 was a wing part that washed ashore on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion last year.

In a bid to glean whatever information they could, investigators from Australia, Malaysia and Boeing spent several days scrutinizing both pieces. The parts were rinsed, submerged and agitated in water to capture any loose marine life. The water was then sieved and any potential biological material that was captured will be examined to see if it can be identified.

Experts will also likely examine the debris to see if it can offer any hints about what happened on board, such as structural deformities that could show the angle at which the plane entered the ocean or markings that could indicate a midair explosion.

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