Human remains suggest blast on board EgyptAir flight: Forensics official

  • Reuters, Cairo
  • Updated: May 24, 2016 17:49 IST
Relatives of the Christian victims of the crashed EgyptAir flight MS804 attend an absentee funeral mass at the main Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt. (Reuters)

Human remains retrieved from the crashed EgyptAir flight suggest that there was an explosion on board the plane, although no traces of explosives have been detected, an Egyptian forensics official and investigation sources said on Tuesday.

The official based his assessment on the small size of body parts so far recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, where EgyptAir flight 804 crashed on Thursday.

“The size of the remains points towards an explosion, the biggest part was the size of a palm,” the forensics official said, adding that about 23 bags of body parts had been collected since Sunday.

Read: Smoke, cockpit woes signal chaotic Mediterranean end for EgyptAir plane

But, Egypt’s head of forensics denied reports that an initial examination of human remains pointed towards an explosion, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

“Everything published about this matter is completely false, and mere assumptions that did not come from the Forensics Authority,” MENA quoted Hesham Abdelhamid as saying in a statement.

Another senior forensics official said only a tiny number of remains had arrived so far and it was too early to specify whether there had been an explosion aboard.

Read: Smoke detected on board before EgyptAir plane crash: Investigators

French investigators say the plane sent a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board as well as other possible computer faults shortly before it disappeared.

The signals did not indicate what may have caused smoke, and aviation experts have said that neither deliberate sabotage nor a technical fault could be ruled out.

Investigators rely on debris, bags and clothes as well as chemical analysis to detect the imprints of an explosion, according to people involved in two previous probes where deliberate blasts were involved.

The flight from Paris to Cairo vanished off radar screens early on Thursday as it entered Egyptian airspace over the Mediterranean. The 10 crew and 56 passengers included 30 Egyptian and 15 French nationals, all believed to be dead.

Read more: EgyptAir plane crash is a terrorist attack: Donald Trump

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