Egyptian investigators looking into the fatal crash of EgyptAir Flight MS804 have discovered traces of explosives on the remains of victims of the accident, the BBC reports.
French authorities have expressed their doubts about Thursday’s revelation, though, because of the difficulties they have been having working with Egyptian officials.
Either way, the French say their greatest concern right now is to have the remains of the French victims returned to France.
Flight MS804 plunged in to the Mediterranean Sea on May 19th, hours after it left Paris en route to Cairo, Egypt, killing all of the 66 people on board.
“France, like it has been from the beginning of this tragic accident, remains at the disposal of the relevant Egyptian authorities to contribute to this investigation, including with the means of its experts,” French authorities said in a statement Thursday.
In September, it was reported that French investigators working on MS804’s case found traces of TNT, or explosive material, on the recovered debris of the plane but were prevented from examining it further. Later, Egyptian authorities denied having obstructed French investigations.
Manufacturers of the ill-fated plane, Airbus, have declined to comment on the findings.
Still a Mystery
Seven months after MS804 crashed in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, the cause of the accident still remains a mystery, with the Egyptian authorities having initially suspected it to be an act of terror.
However, no terror group has come forward to claim responsibility for the crash.
With the latest findings, the Egyptian government has affirmed that the state prosecutor would take over the investigations if it became “clear to the investigative committee that there is criminal suspicion behind the accident.”
Preliminary investigations revealed that the pilots had struggled to put out a fire in the cockpit, but there was no distress call made before the crash.
Automatic electronic signals sent out by the plane also indicated that smoke detectors went off in the toilet and the avionics area beneath the cockpit a few minutes before the crash.
The recovered debris reportedly showed signs of damage caused by high temperatures, and there were traces of powder on the plane’s front section.
Although security at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in France had been tightened following a terror attack in November 2015, experts argue that since the plane had traveled to Tunisia, Egypt, and Eritrea two days before the crash, there is a possibility that a bomb may have been planted before its arrival in Paris.
The plane was carrying 56 passengers and 10 crew members, among them 30 Egyptians and 15 French nationals. Others were from Canada, Britain, Algeria, Sudan, Iraq, Belgium, Kuwait, Portugal, Chad, and Saudi Arabia.
BY FREDRICK NGUGI