The head of Egypt’s forensics authority has dismissed reports that an initial examination of body parts from EgyptAir flight MS804 pointed to an explosion on board.
Investigators trying to determine the cause of crash are looking for clues among the human remains and debris recovered so far from the Mediterranean Sea where the Airbus 320 jet crashed last Thursday.
Earlier on Tuesday, an Egyptian forensic official said on condition of anonymity that an assessment of a body part, not bigger than the palm of a hand, suggested there had been an explosion on board the flight although no trace of explosives have been detected.
Of course, we tried to call it more than once and it did not respond. We asked the planes that were nearby to give it a relay and we could not reach it. That's it.
But Head of Egypt’s Forensics Authority, Hisham Abdelhamid in a statement said the information put out by the official was based on “mere assumptions“ and that it was too early to draw conclusions.
At the weekend, French investigators confirmed that smoke detectors in the plane’s toilet were triggered followed a minute later by the avionics alarm.
The UK’s Telegraph reported that French authorities confirmed that the smoke detectors went off a few minutes before the plane crashed but said it was not clear what caused the smoke or fire.
The avionics bay situated below the cockpit contains all the aircrafts electronic systems such as radio navigation equipment and radar.
A series of messages sent from the aircraft indicated multiple threats on board – possibly including fire in a lavatory and the main electronics bay, The Independent (UK) also reported.
The messages were transmitted automatically to EgyptAir’s engineering base from the aircraft, using the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS).
Aviation experts have not ruled out a deliberate sabotage nor technical fault as a probable cause for the crash of the MS804.
Investigators are relying 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.
Nearly a week after the plane vanished off radar screens, Egyptian and Greek officials who monitored the flight before it crossed into Egypt’s air space, have varied accounts of its last moments.
The Greek Defence Minister, Panos Kammenos last Thursday said the Greek radar had picked up sharp swings in the jet’s trajectory, 90 degrees left, then 360 degrees right as it plunged from a cruising altitude to 15,000 feet before vanishing from radar.
But Ehab Mohieldin Azmi, head of Egypt’s air navigation services, said Egyptian officials saw no sign of the plane swerving, and it had been visible at 37,000 feet until it disappeared.
“Of course, we tried to call it more than once and it did not respond,“ he told Reuters. “We asked the planes that were nearby to give it a relay and we could not reach it. That’s it.”