The human remains retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea where EgyptAir flight 804 crashed last week suggest there was an explosion on board, a senior Egyptian forensics official said on Tuesday.
The official said 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.”
The official added that “the logical explanation is that it was an explosion.”
The official is part of the Egyptian investigative team and has personally examined the remains at a Cairo morgue where forensic experts were to carry out DNA tests. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to release the information.
But Egypt’s head of forensics denied the official’s claim.
“Everything published about this matter is completely false, and mere assumptions that did not come from the Forensics Authority,” MENA state news agency quoted Hesham Abdelhamid as saying in a statement.
Sources also said that investigators had not so far found any traces of explosives that would suggest it was caused by a bomb.
All 66 people on board were killed when the Airbus 320 crashed in the Mediterranean early Thursday while en route from Paris to Cairo.
On Monday, a French ship joined the international effort to hunt for the black boxes and other wreckage of the plane, as Greek and Egyptian authorities diverged on what happened to the aircraft during the crucial final minutes before its crash.
Egyptian authorities said they believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure, and some aviation experts have said the erratic flight reported by the Greek defense minister, Panos Kammenos, suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit.
According to the minister the plane swerved wildly and dropped to 10,000 feet before it fell off radar.
But the head of Egypt’s state-run provider of air navigation services, Ehab Azmy told The Associated Press that the plane did not swerve or lose altitude before it disappeared off radar.
Azmy, head of the National Air Navigation Services Company, said that in the minutes before the plane disappeared it was flying at its normal altitude of 37,000 feet, according to the radar reading. “That fact degrades what the Greeks are saying about the aircraft suddenly losing altitude before it vanished from radar,” he added.
“There was no turning to the right or left, and it was fine when it entered Egypt’s FIR (flight information region), which took nearly a minute or two before it disappeared,” Azmy said.
Egypt’s Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek asked his French counterpart to hand over documents, audio and visual records on the plane during its stay at Charles de Gaulle airport and until it left French airspace, his office said on Monday.
He also asked Greek authorities to hand over transcripts of calls between the pilot and Greek air traffic control officials, and for the officials to be questioned over whether the pilot sent a distress signal.