Joshua Paul / AP

The two pieces of debris were recovered independently—last December and in February—about 130 miles apart off the coast of Mozambique.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is investigating the disappearance of flight MH370, concluded in its report Tuesday:  

At the time of writing, ongoing work was being conducted with respect to the marine ecology identification as well as testing of material samples. The results from these tests will be provided to the Malaysian investigation team once complete. Nevertheless, from the initial examination it was concluded that:

Part No. 1 was a flap track fairing segment, almost certainly from the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, registered 9M-MRO.

Part No. 2 was a horizontal stabiliser panel segment, almost certainly from the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft, registered 9M-MRO.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board when it disappeared from radar shortly after takeoff on March 8, 2014. An international search effort to find the aircraft turned up nothing. Even if Australian investigators are correct, and the parts do indeed belong to the missing plane, it’s unclear why the aircraft was near the coast of southeastern Africa, in a direction nearly opposite to where it was headed.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.