Forensics chief denies EgyptAir blast claims

Egypt's head of forensics denied reports that an initial examination of human remains suggest an explosion tore them apart

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Egypt's head of forensics denied reports that an initial examination of human remains belonging to victims aboard the EgyptAir jet that crashed in the Mediterranean pointed towards an explosion, state news agency MENA said on Tuesday.

"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.

Hesham Abdel Hameed, head of the justice ministry's forensics department, also denied that the reports were accurate, according to the website of state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.

It reported Abdel Hameed as saying such comments are hypothetical and could not have been issued by the department or any of its forensics doctors.

"No trace of any explosives has been found so far on debris or body parts," one source told AFP.

"When a plane crashes, an explosion takes place at some stage or another, reducing the plane to pieces," another source said.
This is "either as a result of mechanical failure or a criminal act, or when the plane hits the sea after falling 11 kilometres, as in this case".

"This does not advance the investigation, unless we find traces of an explosive, which is not the case at this stage," the source added.

Hours earlier, the Associated Press quoted a senior Egyptian forensics official who claimed that human remains retrieved from the crash site suggest there was an explosion on board that may have brought down the aircraft.

AP said the official is part of the Egyptian investigative team and has personally examined the remains at a Cairo morgue. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to release the information.

He 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 adds that “the logical explanation is that it was an explosion.”

All 66 people on board were killed when the Airbus 320 crashed in the Mediterranean early Thursday while en route from Paris to Cairo.

Investigators are still searching for Airbus A320's two black boxes on the seabed as they seek answers as to why the aircraft came down early on Thursday.

Forensics collect DNA

Egyptian forensics officials collected DNA Tuesday from relatives of EgyptAir MS804 victims to help identify body parts retrieved from the Mediterranean, where the crash killed 66 people, the airline said.

"Body parts arrived at the morgue yesterday and other body parts arrived the day before yesterday," EgyptAir Holding Company chairman Safwat Musallam told AFP on Tuesday.

"DNA samples have been collected from the victims' families to help identify body parts," EgyptAir said in an emailed statement.

(Reuters, AFP and the Associated Press)