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.
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.”
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.”
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 earlier in the year.
“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,” 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.”
When their vacation ended, they tucked it away in their boat and sailed back to South Africa.
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.