TWA Flight 800 to be scrapped after 25 yearsASHBURN, Virginia — The bones of 1 of America’s worst air disasters are finally being laid to rest.
But there’ll be no special grave or burial ceremony for the battered, twisted and fire-scarred chunk of fuselage from TWA Flight 800 which exploded minutes after takeoff 25 years ago this month over the Atlantic , killing all 230 passengers and crew members who were bound for Paris then Rome.
TWA Flight 800 A 93-foot-long, two-story, white, silver and red aluminum and steel section of the doomed Boeing 747 jetliner is close to be chopped and melted into scrap.
Or because the National Transportation Safety Board officially calls the process: “Certified destruction.”
TWA Flight 800 Before this painstaking dismantling begins, NorthJersey.com and therefore the USA TODAY Network was given an exclusive look Tuesday at the fuselage, which has sat for nearly 20 years during a sweltering warehouse just off a highway during a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.
TWA Flight 800 Parts of the fuselage of the Boeing 747 that carried TWA Flight 800, which crashed off the coast of Long Island 25 years ago, are stored during a large laboratory at aGeorge Washington University campus in Ashburn, Virginia. The crash claimed 230 lives on July 17, 1996.
The NTSB’s lease on the warehouse and its adjoining classrooms is expiring. therefore the fuselage, which had been used as a training tool for NTSB aviation crash investigators, had to go, too.
Relatives of victims are currently being told they will take a final peek within the coming weeks at the jetliner’s remains. But thus far only a couple have requested a final goodbye.
“I saw it once. it had been quite enough in my lifetime,” said John Seaman of Albany, New York, who lost his 19-year-old niece and went on to steer a coalition of victims’ relatives during a campaign to upgrade airline safety. “If you had someone sitting in these seats, once you see that plane it’s a really horrible experience.”
Conspiracy theories linger:Why can we still have questions on TWA Flight 800 25 years later?
Besides Seaman’s niece, Michele Becker, 19, the victims included a cross-section of yank life.
TWA Flight 800 There was Jill Ann Ziemkiewicz, 23, of Rutherford, New Jersey, taking her first international trip as a newly minted TWA steward . And Tenafly, New Jersey, Borough Administrator Robert Miller and his wife, Elizabeth, a Dumont teacher, who planned to go to France’s wine country.
TWA Flight 800 Also killed were 16 members of a highschool French club from Montoursville, Pennsylvania, and therefore the group’s five adult chaperones. Other victims ranged from a French ice-hockey player and a French guitarist to an American crime victims’ rights activist, an American composer, a German fashion photographer and an indoor designer who worked with artist Warhol .
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TWA Flight 800 Adding to the tragedy that seems to follow TWA 800, James Kallstrom, the agency’s assistant director who led the multi-year investigation into the crash, died in the week , consistent with CBS ny .
Kallstrom, 78, who directed quite 1,000 agents within the TWA 800 probe and conducted 90 press conferences, initially suspected that the plane had been brought down by terrorism. just like the NTSB, which took four years to conduct its inquiry, he eventually concluded that the crash was caused by the plane’s mechanical problems.
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From JFK to fireside Island to Northern Virginia
The debris from TWA 800 that ended up within the warehouse in Northern Virginia was pulled from the Atlantic only miles off the coast of fireside Island shortly after the jetliner blew apart because the summer sun was setting on July 17, 1996.
The plane had began from John F. Kennedy International Airport only 13 minutes earlier.
TWA Flight 800 As it climbed to roughly 13,000 feet and curled along the coast of Long Island on a northern route across the Atlantic, an explosion rocked the plane.
The fuselage of the Boeing 747 that carried TWA Flight 800, which exploded off eastern Long Island and claimed 230 lives on July 17, 1996, is seen during a laboratory facility on the Ashburn, Virginia campus of Washington University on July 6, 2021.
The jetliner dropped. Then another explosion — this another massive than the primary — tore the plane in half.
The twilight sky glowed. Debris rained across the Atlantic for an additional 20 minutes, aviation officials say.
In the ensuing years, the pieces of wreckage — first gathered during a hangar on Long Island , then the Northern Virginia warehouse — became a heart-stopping talisman to the brutality of the tragedy.
To view that fuselage now — even after quite 20 years — remains shocking.
“It’s been 25 years. That doesn’t mean the loss is any less painful,” said Elias Kontanis, the chief of the NTSB’s Transportation Disaster Assistance Division, which was found out after the TWA 800 crash to worry for victims’ families.
Sitting on the cement floor of a hangar-like warehouse on an auxiliary science campus of Washington University, the wreckage seems almost sort of a broken war relic now — silent and menacing and yet mysterious and helpless, too. It’s a far cry from the sleek, powerful jetliner it once was.
The fuselage of the Boeing 747 that carried TWA Flight 800 — which crashed off eastern Long Island 25 years ago in July 1996 — is stored at an outsized laboratory on a campus of Washington University in Ashburn, Virginia. The fuselage are going to be decommissioned and destroyed before the 25th anniversary of the crash, which claimed 230 lives, on July 17, 2021.
The fuselage was actually reconstructed by the NTSB, with quite 1,000 chunks — some dented or peeled or charred — that were eventually pieced together sort of a three-dimensional puzzle on a steel skeleton. a number of the pieces were found floating within the Atlantic across an enquiry area that stretched for miles. Some were pulled from the ocean bottom by U.S. Navy divers.
The process was so painstaking that investigators actually placed rows of seats in their correct spots inside the fuselage.
TWA Flight 800