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Wreckage of TWA Flight 800 will be DESTROYED 25 years after doomed plane exploded

The wreckage of TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris is due to be destroyed 25 years after the doomed plane exploded mid-air and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 230 people on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday announced its decision to decommission and destroy the reconstructed Boeing 747 aircraft as the lease is set to expire on the Virginia warehouse where it is stored.

TWA Flight 800 sent shockwaves around the globe when it blew up in the air just off the coast of Long Island around 10 minutes after it took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 17 1996. 

Federal investigators initially suggested it was the work of a bomb and eyewitnesses said they had seen a missile strike the aircraft before it burst into flames. 

An investigation lasted more than four years and cost $40 million making it the longest and most expensive probe in aviation history, as the wreckage was pulled from the Atlantic Ocean and pieced back together to find the answers. 

The NTSB ruled in 2000 that the explosion was caused by an electrical failure which had ignited a fuel tank.

Ever since, the reconstructed plane has been housed in the 30,000 square foot hangar at the NTSB Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia, where it has been used to teach aviation experts and has served as a memorial site for the families of those killed in the tragedy.  

The wreckage of TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris is due to be destroyed 25 years after the doomed plane exploded mid-air and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 230 people on board. The reconstructed part of the TWA flight 800, Boeing 747 jet in a hanger at Calverton, New York

The wreckage of TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris is due to be destroyed 25 years after the doomed plane exploded mid-air and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 230 people on board. The reconstructed part of the TWA flight 800, Boeing 747 jet in a hanger at Calverton, New York

The wreckage of TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris is due to be destroyed 25 years after the doomed plane exploded mid-air and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 230 people on board. The reconstructed part of the TWA flight 800, Boeing 747 jet in a hanger at Calverton, New York

The partially reconstructed plane in 1999. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday announced its decision to decommission and destroy the reconstructed Boeing 747 aircraft as the lease is set to expire on the Virginia warehouse where it is stored

The partially reconstructed plane in 1999. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday announced its decision to decommission and destroy the reconstructed Boeing 747 aircraft as the lease is set to expire on the Virginia warehouse where it is stored

The partially reconstructed plane in 1999. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on Monday announced its decision to decommission and destroy the reconstructed Boeing 747 aircraft as the lease is set to expire on the Virginia warehouse where it is stored

The NTSB said it plans to stop use of the wreckage from July 7 as the lease expires on the hangar and technological advances mean the reconstruction is less relevant to training purposes today. 

‘[It] has been used in the NTSB’s accident investigation training courses for nearly 20 years,’ the NTSB said.

‘However, advances in investigative techniques such as 3-D scanning and drone imagery, lessen the relevance of the large-scale reconstruction in teaching modern investigative techniques.’

The reconstructed aircraft will be thoroughly documented using various 3-D scanning techniques to create a historical record before it is dismantled and destroyed by a federal contractor sometime before December 2022. 

The agency said the decision to destroy it was part of an agreement with the victims’ families that the wreckage would never be put on public display and would only be used as a training resource. 

NTSB Managing Director Sharon Bryson said the families of the 230 people killed in the explosion had been notified.  

‘Our Transportation Disaster Assistance division and I have connected with representatives of TWA Flight 800 family groups to help ensure families of those who perished on TWA Flight 800 learned of our decision directly from the NTSB before our public announcement,’ said Bryson.

The US Coast Guard picks up debris at the scene of the crash of TWA flight 800

The US Coast Guard picks up debris at the scene of the crash of TWA flight 800

The US Coast Guard picks up debris at the scene of the crash of TWA flight 800

Part of a wing from a TWA Boeing 747 floats in the waters just off Long Island following the doomed flight

Part of a wing from a TWA Boeing 747 floats in the waters just off Long Island following the doomed flight

Part of a wing from a TWA Boeing 747 floats in the waters just off Long Island following the doomed flight

Families of the 230 people killed in the crash embrace at a memorial mass for the victims of TWA Flight 800 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York in 1997

Families of the 230 people killed in the crash embrace at a memorial mass for the victims of TWA Flight 800 at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York in 1997

Families of the 230 people killed in the crash embrace at a memorial mass for the victims of TWA Flight 800 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York in 1997 

Bryson said the reconstruction had led to important changes being made to the safety of aircraft. 

‘The investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 is a seminal moment in aviation safety history,’ she said.  

‘From that investigation we issued safety recommendations that fundamentally changed the way aircraft are designed.’

Airlines are now required to pump inert gas into fuel tanks to make them less flammable.  

As well as being used for training, the wreckage has also been a place for the victims’ families to visit to pay tribute to their loved ones over the years. 

The site has never been open to the public but families often visit and leave flowers, Heidi Snow Cinader told the New York Times.

Cinader, whose fiancé Michel Breistroff died in the crash, said the site had been ‘comforting’ to many family members.

‘It’s been a very important resource for all of us who went through it,’ she said. ‘And I feel like it served a very valuable purpose.’

A total of 212 passengers and 18 crew members boarded TWA Flight 800 at JFK on July 17 1996. 

TWA Flight 800 sent shockwaves around the globe when it blew up in the air just off the coast of Long Island around 10 minutes after it took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 17 1996. The partially reconstructed plane

TWA Flight 800 sent shockwaves around the globe when it blew up in the air just off the coast of Long Island around 10 minutes after it took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 17 1996. The partially reconstructed plane

TWA Flight 800 sent shockwaves around the globe when it blew up in the air just off the coast of Long Island around 10 minutes after it took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 17 1996. The partially reconstructed plane

Federal investigators initially suggested it was the work of a bomb and eyewitnesses said they had seen a missile strike the aircraft before it burst into flames. The NTSB ruled in 2000 that the explosion was caused by an electrical failure which had ignited a fuel tank

Federal investigators initially suggested it was the work of a bomb and eyewitnesses said they had seen a missile strike the aircraft before it burst into flames. The NTSB ruled in 2000 that the explosion was caused by an electrical failure which had ignited a fuel tank

Federal investigators initially suggested it was the work of a bomb and eyewitnesses said they had seen a missile strike the aircraft before it burst into flames. The NTSB ruled in 2000 that the explosion was caused by an electrical failure which had ignited a fuel tank

The plane had landed that afternoon from Athens without incident.

It took off at 8:19 p.m. from New York on the flight path to Paris.

Just 12 minutes later, it exploded about 10 miles south of Long Island. There were no survivors.

The recovery of the bodies began the next day, taking 10 months before all 230 victims were identified.

The day after the explosion, federal officials said they believed the likely cause was an explosive device. 

The crash had been seen by hundreds of people enjoying a summer evening along the coast, many of whom said they had seen a missile strike the plane.

A 1997 memorial for the victims. Ever since, the reconstructed plane has been housed in the 30,000 square foot hangar at the NTSB Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia, where it has been used to teach aviation experts and has served as a memorial site for the families

A 1997 memorial for the victims. Ever since, the reconstructed plane has been housed in the 30,000 square foot hangar at the NTSB Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia, where it has been used to teach aviation experts and has served as a memorial site for the families

A 1997 memorial for the victims. Ever since, the reconstructed plane has been housed in the 30,000 square foot hangar at the NTSB Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia, where it has been used to teach aviation experts and has served as a memorial site for the families

Of the 755 witnesses the FBI went on to interview, at least 258 described seeing a streak of light before it exploded.

Almost 100 said they saw the streak if light travel from the Earth up towards the aircraft.   

The wreckage was pulled from the water and pieced together to determine the cause behind the tragedy.

The probe finally concluded four years later that the explosion was likely caused by an electrical failure.

But, 25 years on many witnesses and conspiracy theorists still suspect foul play. 

Source: Daily Mail |World News

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