Focus of TWA 800 crash on wiring - NTSB

WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 
investigators are focusing on possible sparking from aging wires as the cause 
of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash off Long Island that killed all 230 people 
on board.  

James Hall, chairman of the NTSB, told NBC's Today Show that testing of 
wiring bundles in 25 different planes has focused U.S. aviation officials' 
attention on Boeing <<A HREF="aol://4785:BA">BA.N</A>> 747's electrical 
system as a possible cause of the accident. 

"We are now looking very closely at possible electrical discharges that may 
have come off of some of that wiring that could have caused the accident 
itself," Hall said. 

NTSB investigators have long suspected that fumes in the  plane's center fuel 
tank were ignited by some sort of electrical fault. 

Hall was speaking from Calverton, Long Island, where the reconstructed 
wreckage of TWA 800 was being moved to a smaller hangar Tuesday. 

On Monday, USA Today reported that the private laboratory hired by the NTSB 
to test Poly-X wiring -- the same type used in the destroyed TWA 747 aircraft 
-- found that it sparked more than expected when bundles of it were 

Wet-testing simulates what might happen when cracked insulation on electrical 
wires is exposed to salt water or waste water from an airplane's galley or 

For his part, NTSB chairman Hall refused to confirm those results during his 
NBC News interview, deferring any comment until the safety board's final 
report is released. 

That report is expected early next year. 

11:57 09-14-99

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