Debris in South Africa, Mauritius 'almost certainly' from missing MH370

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Plane debris found in South Africa 'almost certainly' from MH370

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Two pieces of debris discovered in South Africa and the Mauritian island of Rodrigues are almost certainly from the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner, Malaysia's transport ministry said on Thursday.

Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, in one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.

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Debris in South Africa, Mauritius 'almost certainly' from missing MH370
FILE - In this March 31, 2014, photo, the shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion is seen on low level cloud while the aircraft searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia. Part of the mystery of what happened to a Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished last year may be solved with air safety investigators confident that debris found in the Indian Ocean is a wing part unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the missing jet, a U.S. official said Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Air safety investigators — one of them a Boeing investigator —have identified the component that was found on the French island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean as a "flaperon" from the trailing edge of a 777 wing, the U.S. official said. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)
FILE - In this March 13, 2014, photo, children run past dedication messages left for passengers and others involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370 on the walls of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, in Sepang, Malaysia. Part of the mystery of what happened to a Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished last year may be solved with air safety investigators confident that debris found in the Indian Ocean is a wing part unique to the Boeing 777, the same model as the missing jet, a U.S. official said Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Air safety investigators — one of them a Boeing investigator —have identified the component that was found on the French island of Reunion in the western Indian Ocean as a "flaperon" from the trailing edge of a 777 wing, the U.S. official said. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - In this March 24, 2014, photo, a relative of Chinese passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 grieves after being told the latest news in Beijing, China. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
FILE - In this March 30, 2014, photo, newly arrived Chinese relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 hold a sign as they speak to reporters at a hotel in Subang Jaya, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
FILE - In this March 10, 2014, photo, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman briefs reporters on search and recovery efforts within existing and new areas for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 during a press conference in Sepang, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Daniel Chan, File)
FILE - In this March 31, 2014, photo, an observer looks out a window on a Royal New Zealand P3 Orion while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Perth, Australia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)
FILE - In this March 15, 2014, photo, eight-year-old Syira Nazia Hutabarat, center, shows her coloring work for the missing on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 at a class at an elementary school in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara, File)
FILE - In this March 15, 2014, photo, paper planes with personalized messages dedicated to people involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, are placed at the viewing gallery of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, in Sepang, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
FILE - In this March 30, 2014, photo, a man and a girl place signs on strings during a ceremony for the passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
FILE - In this March 18, 2014, photo, a young Malaysian boy prays, at an event for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, at a shopping mall, in Petaling Jaya, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)
FILE - This Feb. 28, 2015, photo shows a suitcase belonging to Foong Wai Yueng, 40, a stewardess who was aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 when it disappeared in March 2014, at her home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Yueng's husband, Lee Khim Fatt, asked a friend to return the bag to him from the hotel where the Malaysia Airlines crew would stay in Beijing. Fatt says "her belongings are meant to be home and not missing somewhere." Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)
FILE - In this April 4, 2015, photo, relatives of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 light candles in a prayer room in Beijing, China. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
In this July 29, 2015, photo, French police officers carry a piece of debris from a plane known as a flaperon in Saint-Andre, Reunion Island. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Lucas Marie)
FILE - In this July 30, 2015, photo, Dai Shuqin, 62 cries as she talks to reporters about her feelings after hearing about the recent discovery of plane debris that could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Beijing. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2015, photo, family members of the missing on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, from left to right: Lee Khim Fatt, husband of Foong Wai Yueng, flight attendant; Choi Loong Chow, husband of Goh Sock Lay, chief stewardess; Jacquita Gomes, wife of Patrick Gomes, in flight supervisor; and Melanie Antonio, wife to Andrew Nari, chief steward; check their mobile devices in Gomes's house outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as they wait for further news. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2015, photo, Jacquita Gomes holds a portrait of her husband, Patrick Gomes, 56, the in-flight supervisor on the ill fated flight Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in their home outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2015, photo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, pauses before speaking at a news conference announcing the findings for the ill fated flight Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Razak announced that a wing piece that washed up on Reunion Island last week is from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. However, French, U.S. and Australian authorities stopped short of full confirmation, frustrating relatives with mixed messages. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)
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Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off the plane's transponder before diverting it thousands of miles off course, out over the Indian Ocean.

"The team has confirmed that both pieces of debris from South Africa and Rodrigues Island are almost certainly from MH370," Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said in a statement.

Liow said the findings support results from a previous examination in March, during which the team confirmed that another piece of debris found in Mozambique was also almost certainly fromMH370.

A first piece of the Boeing 777 washed up on the French island of Reunion in July 2015. Malaysia and French authorities confirmed the flaperon was from the aircraft.

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