Human remains from the crash site of EgyptAir Flight 804 have burn marks and are small in size, suggesting there may have been an explosion on board, a senior Egyptian forensics official has said.
“The logical explanation is that an explosion brought it down,” the official said.
The official, part of the Egyptian team investigating the crash that killed all 66 people on board the flight from Paris to Cairo early last Thursday, has personally examined the remains at a Cairo morgue.
However, the head of the government’s forensic agency later dismissed as speculation all media reports about human remains from the crash indicating an explosion.
“Whatever has been published is baseless and mere assumptions,” Hisham Abdel-Hamid told Egypt’s state Mena news agency.
A statement from the government’s investigative committee also warned media outlets to be cautious about what is published “to avoid chaos and spreading false rumours and damaging the state’s high interests and national security”.
The Egyptian expert said that all 80 pieces that have been brought to Cairo so far are very small.
“There isn’t even a whole body part, like an arm or a head,” said the official, adding one piece was the left part of a head. He said the body parts are “so tiny” and that at least one piece of a human arm has signs of burns — an indication it might have “belonged to a passenger sitting next to the explosion”.
“But I cannot say what caused the blast,” he said. He did not say whether traces of explosives were found on the human remains found so far.
The expert’s comments mark a new twist surrounding the crash, which remains a mystery.
The plane’s black boxes have yet to be found and photographs of retrieved debris published by the Egyptian military over the weekend were not charred and appear to show no signs of fire.
Egyptian officials have said they believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure, or some other catastrophic event, and some aviation experts have said the erratic flight reported by the Greek defence minister suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit.
Yesterday, the investigative team led by Ayman al-Moqadem issued its second report on the case, saying that so far pieces of the wreckage have been taken to Cairo in 18 batches.
It added that the priority is to locate the black boxes and to retrieve more bodies.
France’s aviation accident investigation agency would not comment on anything involving the bodies or say whether any information has surfaced to indicate an explosion.
Family members of victims have been arriving at the Cairo morgue forensics’ department to give DNA samples to help identify the remains of their relatives, a security official said.