Human remains from EgyptAir crash site said to indicate blast on board

No traces of explosives have been detected so far, an Egyptian forensics official and investigation sources said.

May 24, 2016 12:23
2 minute read.

EgyptAir passenger jet with 66 people disappears from radar. (photo credit: screenshot)

The human remains so far retrieved from the wreckage of 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 site in the Mediterranean sea. Investigators had not so far found any traces of explosives that would suggest it was caused by a bomb, the sources said.

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"The size of the remains points towards an explosion, the biggest part was the size of a palm. Some of the remains started arriving on Sunday in about 23 bags," the forensics official said.

However, another 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.

EgyptAir flight 804 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.

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.

Egyptian officials were able to track the plane for one minute before it crashed but were unable to communicate with the crew, the head of Egypt's National Navigation Services Company said.

It remained unclear whether the disappearance was due to technical failure or any other reason such as sabotage by ultra-hardline Islamists, who have targeted airports, airliners and tourist sites in Europe, Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern countries over the past few years.

Egypt's head of forensics denied the report.

"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

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