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Likely debris from Malaysia airlines MH370 is from wing, tailplane: Officials

French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. French prosecutor announced on Thursday that we can say with certainty that the wing part found on Saint-Andre beach was from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Prisca Bigot | STR | Reuters
French gendarmes and police inspect a large piece of plane debris which was found on the beach in Saint-Andre, on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, July 29, 2015. French prosecutor announced on Thursday that we can say with certainty that the wing part found on Saint-Andre beach was from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Two pieces of debris found washed up on the east coast of Africa were very likely parts of vanished Malaysia Airlines MH370's wing and tail, officials said Tuesday.

The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau said last month that the two objects found in Mozambique in December and February were "almost certainly from MH370."

On Tuesday, that authority gave more details to back up this assessment.

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Stenciling on a piece of likely MH370 debris found in December is compared with designs used by Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.
Source: ATSB
Stenciling on a piece of likely MH370 debris found in December is compared with designs used by Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.

It said the piece found in December by 18-year-old South African Liam Lötter was a part of a Boeing 777 "flap track fairing segment" — smooth pods under the wings housing the mechanisms that control wing flaps.

Investigators found that "all measurable dimensions, materials, construction and other identifiable features" were consistent with a 777, according to the ATSB.

A visible stencil on the part showing the serial number 676EB also matched the aircraft. Although the font and color was not the original from manufacture, the bureau added, they matched the design used by Malaysia Airlines for repainting.

The second part, found in February by American lawyer and adventurer Blaine Alan Gibson, also matched all measurable dimensions and materials for a 777 tailplane, also known as a horizontal stabilizer, which is found on the tail sections of airliners.

Like the serial number on the first part of debris, a stencil reading "NO STEP" matched the design used by the airline.

Both parts were "almost certainly" from MH370, the ATSB reiterated on Tuesday.

Stenciling on a piece of likely MH370 debris found in December is compared with designs used by Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.
Source: ATSB
Stenciling on a piece of likely MH370 debris found in December is compared with designs used by Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.

Despite a two-year investigation, only one piece of debris has been confirmed as coming from the aircraft — a 6-foot-long wing flap that washed up on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

Investigators said they would analyze another possible piece found on a Mauritian island in March.

The debris washing up on the East African coast is consistent with computer models showing how ocean drift would carry the wreckage across the seas, according to officials.

MH370 vanished from radar on Mar. 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard.