MIAMI – Following years of federal investigative training, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials have declared that the partially restored wreckage of Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800 will be decommissioned.

Shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) on July 17, 1996, the TWA 800 flight, (a Boeing 747-131) exploded, killing 230 aboard and crashing into the Atlantic Ocean.

When the Paris-bound plane incident occurred off the coast of Long Island, it set off a major FBI investigation. In the hangar in Calverton, New York, investigators reassembled a significant portion of the plane. They used components recovered from the seafloor to look into the cause of the explosion.

A photograph of the right side of the large three-dimensional reconstruction, with the support scaffolding visible. (Figure 29). Photo: By User Skybunny on en.wikipedia – Originally from en.wikipedia; description page is (was) here, Public Domain,

A New Location for the Wreckage

The NTSB then relocated the structure to a training center in Ashburn, Virginia, in which it used the remains of the plane in its accident investigation training sessions for 20 years. The NTSB declared that a 3D scanning and drone photography of wrecks before the plane is decommissioned will be completed by the federal safety department. In July before the reconstruction is scanned for historical purposes, the usage of the structure will cease.

“When the NTSB moved the reconstruction to the Training Center, it did so with the stipulation that it would be used solely as a training resource and never as an exhibit or public display. To honor this agreement made with the families of the victims of TWA Flight 800, the NTSB will work closely with a federal government contractor to dismantle the reconstruction and destroy the wreckage,” the NTSB release stated.

According to NBC New York, in 2014, the NTSB dismissed the demands of former investigators to open the test before the 1996 crash and said that there was fresh evidence that a missile hit may have brought the jumbo jet down.

The NTSB stated that the group’s analysis of radar evidence to reinforce its claims had been flawed; that no evidence of a warhead had been found; and that the debris field indicates that the aircraft had departed mid-air after ignition in the center wing fuel tank.

Featured image: Boeing 747-131, Trans World Airlines (TWA). De Jon Proctor – Gallery page, GFDL 1.2,