EgyptAir Crash Investigators Find Explosives Traces on VictimsBy
First time Egypt finds evidence indicating terrorism
Experts baffled by May 19 tragedy that killed 66 people
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.