|July 14, 1999
The Associated Press
The long and
costly investigation into the explosion of
TWA Flight 800 will conclude by this winter at the latest,
the head of the lead investigative agency said Wednesday as the
anniversary approached. Investigators are certain that a fuel-air
in the center fuel tank brought down the Boeing 747 on July 17,
all 230 aboard, but a final determination of the ignition source
not been made, Jim Hall, chairman of the National Transportation
Board, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
...... Bernard Loeb, the panel's head of aviation safety, said investigators
have already examined the possibility of a static electricity
current from nearby fuel pumps and electrical shorts in the tank's
indicating system. The final phase of their work is now focusing on
electro-magnetic emissions. Investigators have studied external
as radar-emitting military planes and ships. They have also looked
carry-on items such as laptop computers and other personal electronics.
they are testing electronics built into the plane itself. "We
don't favor any
particular ways of getting ignition, but we know there are a
number of them
and the FAA has addressed some of them,'' Loeb said.
...... "I'm still hopeful that we will be able to have our final board
final report by the end of the year,'' the chairman said as he sat
in his office with
binders about the crash nearby. He said if there are delays,
the meeting will
occur by "early winter.''
..... While some have speculated that the plane was
blown out of the sky by terrorists or the military, the FBI concluded
criminal act was involved. On Wednesday, Hall adamantly repeated
plane was not harmed by a missile. "Stories will probably continue
lifetime,'' he said. "One of the board's important roles is to
integrity of investigations and, in doing so, the integrity of
we all work for.''