TWA Flight 800 was a Boeing 747 plane that left John F. Kennedy airport bound for Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France, on July 17, 1996. The plane was carrying 230 people in total, including 212 passengers…
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The plane exploded approximately 10 minutes after takeoff , and all 230 were killed, with the plane considered to be ‘destroyed’, breaking up into pieces and crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. The ‘why’ of the accident is harder to determine, as many conspiracy theories have come to life in the almost 15 years since the accident. The official cause listed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was one of “fuel tank failure”, stating that the center wing fuel tank exploded. Though no concrete cause was determined for the explosion, most speculate that it was a short circuit of the wiring outside the fuel tank, which then led to a chain reaction and breaking up of the airplane when the fuel ignited. After the TWA Flight 800 accident, measures were taken to prevent another accident from occurring like this one. The post-accident report of the NTSB focused on safety issues, stating that a contributing factor was the fact that there was a heat source beneath the fuel tank with no way to cool that source, as well as no way to prevent the vapors that were given off by the fuel tank from igniting. In 1997, extensive tests were done to measure fuel output in conditions similar to Flight 800, as well as measure the temperature of the fuel and determine if it was flammable at those temperatures.
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The plane’s old nature and heat accumulation may also have led to the explosion. The bomb and missile theory have been disapproved, leaving the cause as the explosion of the central tank, but questions into the source of ignition have not yet been answered.
It was struck by a flock of Geese as it climbed to achieve height. Indeed the US Airways Flight 1549 was due to a bird strike which happened at the north end of the George Washington Bridge only after 3 minutes of the flight had gone by. There was a complete loss of thrust in both the engines of the commercial aircraft.
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