TWA Flight 800
TWA Flight 800 Explosion Adds New Chapter to Air Crash History. On Saturday, the world will focus on Long Island as we mark the 25th anniversary of the TWA Flight 800 disaster, which killed 230 people. Let us not forget the spirit and ideals shown by Long Islanders after the tragedy.
Concerning our national institutions and empirical research, two recent occurrences offer contrasts. The reconstructed Boeing 747 aircraft, long-held in a hangar in Virginia, will be dismantled and destroyed once its forensic and educational purpose is complete, according to federal officials.
“It’s been very useful, but I think we’ve gotten to the point now that it’s time to move on from that, but in a different way,” Frank Hilldrup, an NTSB official who was on the original team of Flight 800 investigators, told CNN.
Within hours after the explosion, scores of news crews from around the globe rushed to the flaming aircraft wreckage and the U.S. Coast Guard station at East Moriches. Before relocating operations to Smith Point County Park in Shirley, Kallstrom and other authorities regularly spoke with reporters on the scene.
Researchers and professionals reconstructed the shards and bits of the airplane wreckage at Calverton, a distressing and hazardous undertaking. It took months to retrieve and identify all 230 bodies from the Air Crash incident.
“You can never really close the door on this. You can never really put it away,” said John Seaman, whose niece, Michelle Becker, died in the disaster.
“It gives testimony to what happened,” he told CNN. The reconstruction “was impressive and it made me feel good to be an American.”
Examining the wreckage
On the way to Virginia, the plane’s wreckage was examined for clues and kept for almost two decades. According to Kallstrom’s FBI unit, the explosion was triggered by an electrical spark igniting the jet’s gasoline.
The fledgling social media of the period, tabloid television, and talk radio aired and debated claimed eyewitness reports of the incident and speculated about a nefarious or unintentional assault.
He and investigators refuted allegations that the plane was brought down by a bomb or a missile fired by terrorists or the US military. About 25 years ago, Long Islanders used government institutions, scientific investigation, and community spirit to discover the truth and build connections among neighbors.
“The investigation was looking at almost every possibility, including state actors because we’d known that Libya had been involved with regards to bringing down the airliner over Scotland,” he previously said, referring to Pan Am Flight 103. “We were looking at Iraq and Saddam Hussein. We were looking at, you know, the possibility of even Iran might have played a role in this.”