SYDNEY, Australia — Two pieces of wreckage found in Mozambique are “highly likely” to be wreckage from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Australian officials said Thursday after completing an 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.
The pieces of debris were found separately by an American 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 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 trip early in March, along the coast of Mozambique. The owner of the boat and Gibson found the plane part washed ashore on a sandbar.
“It never occurred to me that I would find something like this here. It’s almost like a dream. I don’t know if it’s from 370 or another plane. Whatever it is, even if it’s not from 370, it raises awareness that people need to look for stuff on beaches,” said Gibson, who has been involved in the search for MH370 as a private citizen.
Liam Lotter, a South African teenager, said he found a piece during a family vacation in the east African nation in December.
“We stumbled across what seemed like a curved sort of gray object,” the 18-year-old told CNN by phone. “We didn’t know what it was at first.”
After discovering the piece, Lotter and his cousin hauled it back to the family beach house. His relatives were skeptical, and speculated that it was probably from a boat, not a plane.
When their vacation ended on January 5, they tucked it away in their boat and sailed back to South Africa.
“We stuck it in the back of the boat,” Lotter said. “So we take this thing, and when we got back we stored it in a storage room where we put all our outdoor stuff.”
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.