Debris Belongs to Doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Experts Say

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 lands at Los Angeles International Airport in February 2013. (Image credit: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 image via Shutterstock)

Two pieces of plane debris discovered in Mozambique very likely belong to the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing two years ago en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the Australian government announced today (March 24).

The Malaysian investigation team for MH370 reported that the pieces, which were discovered Feb. 27, are consistent with panels from a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, said Darren Chester, the Australian minister for infrastructure and transport.

"The analysis has concluded the debris is almost certainly from MH370," Chester said in a statement. [Flight 370: Photos of the Search for Missing Malaysian Plane]

Both of the pieces found in Mozambique were examined in Canberra, Australia. A team of experts from Australia, Malaysia, Boeing, Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University took part. They removed any visible animal life, such as crustaceans, from the wreckage, and then rinsed them, capturing any remaining fauna with a series of sieves, the Australian government reported.  

The sieved material will later be examined and identified, and may help experts figure out where the debris has been since the crash. The experts also X-rayed the debris to further verify if it was from the missing plane.

The plane's disappearance has become one of the biggest mysteries in aviation. On March 8, 2014, Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia with 239 people on board, but the flight never reached its destination in China.

The plane likely crashed into the Indian Ocean, but only a few pieces of the aircraft have ever been found. The first verified pieces of wreckage were found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean in July. The newly confirmed pieces may be located a ways from the suspected crash site, but they're "consistent with drift modeling" of the ocean, Chester said.

Another possible piece of the aircraft, likely the cowling from an engine, was recently found in South Africa, according to the Australian government. The Malaysian government is currently coordinating with South African officials to set up an analysis of that debris.

"The search for MH370 continues," Chester said. "There are 25,000 square kilometers [about 9,650 square miles] of the underwater search area still to be searched. We are focused on completing this task and remain hopeful the aircraft will be found."

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Laura Geggel

Laura is the archaeology and Life's Little Mysteries editor at Live Science. She also reports on general science, including paleontology. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site on autism research. She has won multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association for her reporting at a weekly newspaper near Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in science writing from NYU.