EgyptAir crash human remains point to blast on board | News | DW | 24.05.2016
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EgyptAir crash human remains point to blast on board

Senior Egyptian forensics officials say an initial probe suggests an in-flight explosion on doomed EgyptAir jet. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity.

One forensics official said he had personally examined the remains, which were taken to a Cairo morgue after being pulled from the Mediterranean Sea following last Thursday's crash. The remains were being prepared for DNA testing and identification.

He told The Associated Press all 80 pieces brought to Cairo so far are small and that "there isn't even a whole body part, like an arm or a head." He added that "the logical explanation is that it was an explosion." He spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn't authorized to release the information.

The German news agency DPA cited forensics sources as saying that there were no signs of damage after entering the water, indicating that the aircraft broke up in the air.

An independent Cairo daily, al-Watan, quoted an unnamed forensics official on Tuesday as saying the plane blew up in midair but that it has yet to be determined whether the blast was caused by an explosive device. The official further said the remains retrieved so far are "no larger than the size of a hand."

But later, Egypt's state news agency MENA cited Egypt's head of forensics denying the earlier claim of an on-board explosion by his colleagues.

"Everything published about this matter is completely false, and mere assumptions that did not come from the Forensics Authority," Hesham Abdelhamid was reported to have said, in a statement.

EgyptAir Flight 804, en route from Paris to Cairo, crashed into the sea about 290 kilometers (180 miles) off the Egyptian coast early on Thursday morning, killing all 66 people on board.

EgyptAir crash personal belongings

Human remains and personal items have been found

Piecing evidence together

French investigators have revealed that smoke or fog was detected in one of the toilets and the avionics bay shortly before the Airbus 320 disappeared from radar. But the signals did not indicate what may have caused the smoke. Aviation experts have not ruled out either deliberate sabotage or a technical fault.

The same aircraft made an emergency landing in 2013.

Meanwhile on Monday, Egypt's public prosecutor formally requested data on the crashed plane from France and Greece.

In particular, investigators are keen to see documents, audio and visual records which detail the plane's stay at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport and until it left French airspace.

Greek authorities have been requested to hand over transcripts of calls between the pilot and Greek air traffic control officials.

Also on Monday, Egypt contradicted Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who claimed that the jetliner had made sharp turns to the left and right as it plunged from a cruising altitude to 15,000 feet, before vanishing from radar. The head of Egyptian air navigation services said Egyptian officials did not spot the plane swerving.

"We did not record any form of swerving," head of National Air Navigation Services Company Ehab Mohieeldin told privately-owned local television channel CBC on Monday night.

Ships and planes scouring the sea are still trying to locate two "black boxes" that could shed light on the cause of Thursday's crash.

Air crash investigation experts say the search teams have around 30 days to listen for pings sent out once every second from beacons attached to the two flight recorders.

mm/kms (AP, Reuters)