April 13, 2001
An explosion that destroyed a Boeing 737 last month on the ground in
was caused by the same problem that downed TWA Flight 800 off the coast
New York in 1996, according to preliminary evidence. A Thai Airways
International 737 burst into flames March 3. Investigators (the article
should point out that these 'investigators' were the FBI ones) found
evidence of a bomb and traced the blast to the center fuel tank, the
National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. The NTSB is assisting
Thai authorities because of the board's expertise. A flight attendant
the jet died. The jet's cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds
explosion. The NTSB said those sounds "are similar" to noises recorded
explosion of the center fuel tank on a Philippine Airlines 737 in 1990.
year, the NTSB ruled that TWA's 747 broke apart from a center tank
All 230 people aboard died. In that explosion, the NTSB suspected frayed
wiring or one of several other sources led to a spark in the hot fuel
The safety board has recommended steps to reduce the chances that tanks
explode. For example, the NTSB said that air conditioning systems be
off on the ground. The air conditioning units emit heat, which can
fuel in the tank to vaporize and become explosive. Last May, Boeing
warned its customers in a letter to switch off air conditioning on
ground. In both the TWA and Thai accidents, air conditioning systems
to the center tank in the jets were turned on. The NTSB said the Thai
air conditioning system had been operating for about 40 minutes on
ground. The temperature was in the 90s. It could not be learned why
Airways had not heeded Boeing's advice.
Commentary by Mike Hull: I wonder
if the Thai authorities believe the CWT story? After all their investigators
found explosives on the plane before the FBI brought in its 'experts'.
Further the Thai Prime Minister was about to board the flight!
Sounds like a premature bomb explosion to me.
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