Egypt forensics chief: 'EgyptAir plane explosion theory is premature'

Debris from the wreckage of EgyptAir flight 804. Credit: Reuters

The head of Egypt's forensics authority has said it is too early to say that because of the small size of the body parts retrieved from the EgyptAir crash site an explosion brought the plane down.

Earlier today an Egypt official told the Associated Press news agency that the condition of the victims' bodies seemed to point to an explosion.

He said all 80 body parts examined in Cairo so far are small and that "there isn't even a whole body part, like an arm or a head" so "the logical explanation is that it was an explosion".

But Hisham Abdelhamid said this assessment was "mere assumptions" and that it was too early to draw conclusions.

At least two other sources with direct knowledge of the investigation also told Reuters that it would be premature to say what caused EgyptAir flight 804 to plunge into the sea.

A vessel searching for forensic evidence at the crash site in the Mediterranean Sea. Credit: Egyptian Military/Handout

French investigators say the plane's smoke detectors were activated shortly before it disappeared.

The signals did not indicate what may have caused the smoke, and aviation experts have said that neither deliberate sabotage nor a technical fault could be ruled out.

Egyptian and Greek officials - who monitored the flight before it crossed into Egypt's air space - have also given differing accounts of its last moments.

In Greece, two officials stood by earlier statements that Greek radar picked up sharp swings in the jet's trajectory, before it plunged from a cruising altitude to 15,000 feet and then vanished.

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.

Athens has said it will start sending information on the crash to Egyptian authorities on Wednesday, in response to a request from Egypt's public prosecutor.

The prosecutor also asked France for documents, audio and visual records on the plane during its stopover at Charles de Gaulle airport and until it left French airspace.