Egypt’s forensics chief has denied reports that an initial examination of the remains of victims of the EgyptAir crash points towards an explosion.
“Everything published about this matter is completely false,” Forensic Medicine Authority head Hisham Abdul Hamid said.
Earlier, a forensic official was quoted as saying the remains were so small a blast was the only logical explanation.
All 66 people on board Flight MS804 were killed when the plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday.
The Airbus A320 was flying overnight from Paris to Cairo when it vanished from Greek and Egyptian radar screens, apparently without having sent a distress call.
Debris from the plane has been recovered from the sea, some 290km (180 miles) north of the Egyptian port city of Alexandria.
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On Tuesday morning, the Associated Press quoted an unnamed senior Egyptian forensic official – whom it described as part of the Egyptian team investigating the crash – as saying: “The logical explanation is that an explosion brought it down.”
The official said he had personally examined the human remains that had so far been brought to a mortuary in the capital, Cairo, and described them all as “small”.
“There isn’t even a whole body part, like an arm or a head,” the official said. “But I cannot say what caused the blast.”
AP later quoted the same official as saying that at least one piece of an arm had signs of burns, an indication that it might have “belonged to a passenger sitting next to the explosion”.
But on Tuesday afternoon, the official Mena news agency quoted a statement by Mr Abdul Hamid denying that the Forensic Medicine Authority had already concluded there was an explosion.
“Everything published about this matter is completely false, and mere assumptions that did not come from the Forensic Medicine Authority,” the statement said.
An independent aviation safety expert also told the BBC that the condition of the remains could be the result of several scenarios.
Egypt’s president has said that “all scenarios are possible” and the search continues for the plane’s flight data and voice recorders, known as the black boxes.
However, Egypt’s minister of civil aviation said on Friday that a terrorist attack was more likely than a technical failure.
There are also conflicting reports over whether or not the Airbus A320 swerved before it plunged into the sea, as previously stated by the Greek authorities.
Egyptian officials have told the BBC that Egyptian radar equipment did not register any abnormal movement by the aircraft, but that they tracked the plane for only a moment before it disappeared.
Greece’s defence minister said on Friday that, after leaving Greek airspace and before it disappeared from Greek radar, the plane abruptly turned 90 degrees left and then 360 degrees to the right, dropping from 11,300m (37,000 ft) to 4,600m (15,000ft) and then 3,000m (10,000ft).
The Aviation Herald also reported that the plane sent a series of warnings indicating that smoke had been detected on board three minutes before it disappeared.
The warnings do not indicate what might have caused the smoke.