EgyptAir Crash Investigators Find Explosives Traces on Victims

  • First time Egypt finds evidence indicating terrorism
  • Experts baffled by May 19 tragedy that killed 66 people

Some of the passengers' belongings and parts of the wreck of EgyptAir flight MS804 are seen as more wreckage found north of Alexandria, in Egypt on May 21, 2016.

Photographer: Egyptian Armed Forces / Handout /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Egyptian investigators found traces of explosives on victims of the crashed EgyptAir jet that went down over the Mediterranean seven months ago, in the clearest indication so far that terrorism may have caused the fatal incident.

The findings have been referred to Egypt’s public prosecutor to determine whether a criminal act caused the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 from Paris to Cairo, the Egyptian civil aviation ministry said in an e-mailed statement Thursday.

Aviation experts have been baffled by the May 19 tragedy, after an Airbus Group SE A320 plane crashed under clear skies over the eastern Mediterranean and fell off the radar, killing all 66 people on board. The aircraft sent several automated error messages before plunging without any distress signals from the crew. In June, investigators probing the crash said black box analysis pointed to smoke in the cabin, indicating a fire.

EgyptAir has suffered a series of setbacks in addition to the crash of Flight 804, including a hijacking scare in March and passenger declines amid a tourism slump in the country following the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak. In an effort to update its fleet and boost traffic, the airline in July said it’s ordering nine Boeing Co. 737 planes valued at $864 million.

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