Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

New York Times

April 12, 2001
A Similarity Is Seen in 2 Plane Explosions


ASHINGTON, April 11 - The National Transportation Safety Board today
described the explosion of a Boeing 737 in Thailand last month in terms
similar to those used to describe T.W.A. Flight 800, a Boeing 747 that
exploded in 1996 off Long Island.

The Thai Airways International plane exploded at an airport in Bangkok, in
what was initially believed to be sabotage. Thai authorities said they had
found traces of explosives.

But the safety board said today that the F.B.I. had found no traces of
explosives. The blast was in the center-wing fuel tank, in the fuselage.

On both models, the tank is above heat exchangers that the air-conditioning
system uses to take heat out of the cabin. The air-conditioners had been
running for about 40 minutes, the board said. Heating the tank allows fuel
to turn to vapor, and it can explode if a spark is present. Investigators
say they believe that is what happened to T.W.A. 800, shortly after takeoff
on July 17, 1996.

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