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Human remains suggest explosion on board downed Egyptair flight

Human remains suggest explosion on board downed Egyptair flight

Human remains retrieved from the crash site of the EgyptAir Flight 804 suggest there was an explosion on board that may have brought down the aircraft, a senior Egyptian forensic official has said.

The official is part of the Egyptian investigative team and has personally examined the remains in Cairo.

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 added 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 on Thursday while en route from Paris to Cairo.

The official said: "The logical explanation is that an explosion brought it down. But I cannot say what caused the blast."

Egyptian authorities have 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 defence minister suggests a bomb blast or a struggle in the cockpit. But so far no hard evidence has emerged.

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

France's aviation accident investigation agency would not comment on anything involving the bodies or say whether any information has surfaced in the investigation to indicate an explosion.

In a search for clues, family members of the victims arrived on Tuesday at the Cairo morgue forensics' department to give DNA samples to help identify the remains of their kin, a security official said.

Egypt has dispatched a submarine to search for the flight's black boxes and a French ship joined the international effort to locate the wreckage and search for the plane's data recorders.

Ships and planes from Britain, Cyprus, France, Greece and the United States are also taking part in the search for the debris from the aircraft, including the black boxes.