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Egypt official says human remains suggest blast downed jet: Report

Egyptian forensics official says lack of 'whole body part' among remains recovered so far suggests plane blew up in midair
Debris recovered from EgyptAir flight 804 (AFP)

A senior Egyptian forensics official has claimed that human remains retrieved from the crash site of EgyptAir flight 804 indicate that the plane was brought down by an on-board explosion.

The official, speaking to the AP news agency, said out of the 80 body pieces brought to the Cairo mortuary, "there isn't even a whole body part, like an arm or a head".

"The logical explanation is that an explosion brought it down. But I cannot say what caused the blast," he told the agency.

The independent Cairo newspaper, al-Watan, separately quoted an unnamed forensics official on Tuesday as saying the plane blew up in midair.

The official said the remains retrieved so far are "no larger than the size of a hand".

He did not say what caused the explosion.

However, another senior forensics official told the Reuters news agency that only a tiny number of remains had arrived so far and it was too early to specify whether there had been an explosion aboard.

Speaking to Egypt's official MENA news agency, Hesham Abdelhamid, Egypt's forensics chief, said that everything published was "completely false, and mere assumptions".

All 66 passengers and crew on board EgyptAir flight 804 died after the Airbus 320 crashed into the Mediterranean last Thursday, while travelling from Paris to Cairo.

Egyptian authorities have said they believe terrorism is a more likely explanation than equipment failure, but investigators are still searching for the plane's two black boxes on the seabed.

Forensics officials on Tuesday collected DNA from relatives of those aboard the flight to help identify body parts retrieved from the Mediterranean, the airline said.

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

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