Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Crash Victims' Families Still Searching for Answers Investigators Offer No Definitive Cause for Downing of Flight 800

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Crash Victims' Families Still Searching for Answers Investigators Offer No Definitive Cause for Downing of Flight 800

Article excerpt

Families of victims of the crash of TWA Flight 800 said Saturday that their key questions of what caused the explosion had not been answered.

After a briefing by federal officials, the families said investigators still did not know precisely how the Boeing 747 was brought down July 17, killing all 230 people on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday that a buildup of volatile vapors in the 747's center fuel tank could have triggered the explosion if static electricity led to a spark. "The key issues that we wanted to find answers to have not been answered. Maybe they cannot be answered now," said Jose Cremades, a spokesman for the victims' families. The board urgently called on the Federal Aviation Administration to order steps to assure that vapors do not build up to flash point and also to modify the plane's design to protect against fuel overheating. The FAA said it would urgently review the board's recommendations, and Boeing said it would comply with any directives issued by the FAA. Cremades made his comments after families were briefed by officials of the board, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Navy, whose experts who have so far salvaged more than 90 percent of the plane's wreckage. TWA's New York-to-Paris flight went down shortly after takeoff. Cremades said investigators told the families they had recovered about all of the center fuel tank. Investigators said they had found no sign of a missile or bomb, Cremades said, when asked about recurring theories that the plane was struck by a missile shortly after takeoff. But, he said, "They are running missile tests in California." He also said that many of the families were encountering financial hardships, since in some cases the main income earner had been killed in the crash. But he added, "This cannot be blamed on the investigators. …

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