Australian authoritites revealed today that the debris recovered earlier this month in Mozambique couldÂ likely belong missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, while Malaysia called for a stepped up search of Africa’s coast for clues to the plane’s fate.
Official analysis found two pieces of debris were “almost certainly from MH370”, Australian infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester confirmed to reporters, speaking about the plane that dissapeared from radarsÂ in March 2014 with about 240Â people on board.
âThe analysis has concluded the debris is almost certainly from MH370,â he said.
“That such debris has been found on the east coast of Africa is consistent with drift modeling … and further affirms our search efforts in the southern Indian Ocean,” Chester added.
A meter-long pieceÂ of metal was found off the coast of Mozambique by a U.S. adventurer who was carrying his ownÂ independent search for the mysterious flight. He gave the discovery to Australian experts for testing earlier this week.
“If they don’t find the plane in the area where they’re searching now, they and others need to continue to look,” said Blaine Alan Gibson, who found one of the new pieces of debris.
“They’ve got to solve this mystery. We can’t give up after the current search area is completed,” Gibson added in a telephone interview, shortly after being told by the authorities that his discovery matched the plane.
“I can’t use the word happy to describe how I feel, because that means that the plane crashed, and that the plane crashed in a forceful impact,” Gibson added.Â “I’d use the word ‘hopeful’.”
The debris is beingÂ examined by investigators from Australia and Malaysia, as well as specialists from Boeing, Geoscience Australia and the Australian National University in Canberra.
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.Â “As such, both parts are consistent with panels from a MAS Boeing 777 aircraft, and almost certainly are from MH370.”
“We are currently awaiting approval from the South African authorities,” Liow said. “The coastal search will be by a Malaysian team and focused around South Africa and Mozambique.”
Families of theÂ MH370 passengers reacted toÂ 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.
Nevertheless, Jiang Hui admittedÂ 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 said.Â “If they can find debris in as far away as Africa, the authorities should reassess their search area and their hypothesis.”