Two pieces of fuel tank found
September 9, 1996
SHINNECOCK, New York (CNN) -- Navy divers searching the waters off Long Island for the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 have recovered two more pieces of the center fuel tank, an area of the downed 747 which investigators will be examining closely.
"Since we consider the center fuel tank our area of focus, the investigators are excited," said Shelly Hazle, spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board. "We're always glad to have more pieces of the center fuel tank."
Hazle added, however, that lead investigator Al Dickinson told her an initial look at the fuel tank pieces "revealed little or no fire damage."
According to Navy spokesman Lieutenant Nick Balice, the two pieces of the fuel tank were recovered in an area of debris known as Area 1, which is the part of the wreckage farthest away from Kennedy International Airport.
Balice said four nets of wreckage and some loose debris were offloaded at the Shinnecock coast guard station Monday, and four were offloaded Sunday.
Navy diving operations resumed Sunday after a hiatus of more than a week due to the rough seas caused by hurricanes Edouard and Fran.
The center fuel tank has been of intense interest to investigators since they discovered that an explosion took place there. They have not yet determined whether it was the initial explosion or a secondary blast.
Hazle said one of the pieces is 6 feet by 4 feet and the other is somewhat smaller. She added, investigators reconstructing the wreckage at the former Grumman hangar in Calverton, New York, plan to elevate the portion of the fuel tank that has already been recovered as part of their efforts to examine that part of the plane even more closely. Before Monday's recovery, about 60% of the fuel tank had been recovered.
Divers Sunday recovered a fuel tank probe but it was unclear which fuel tank it came from. They also recovered parts of an engine and pieces of the cabin interior.
The investigation entered its eighth full week Monday. The Paris bound 747 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic shortly after take-off July 17, killing all 230 people on board.
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