Crash victims' families sue TWA, Boeing for $150 millionOctober 21, 1996
Web posted at: 8:50 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An aviation attorney representing some of the families of those killed aboard TWA Flight 800 filed suit Monday blaming "mechanical, structural or electrical failure" for the July 17 crash that killed 230.
Two suits seeking $150 million accuse TWA and Boeing Co., manufacturer of the 747, of "wanton and willful misconduct".
The suits were filed in U.S. District Court by attorney Lee Kreindler following a morning meeting in Washington with officials of the National Transportation Safety Board at which he explained his theories on what may have caused the disaster. He said he will seek damages from the defendants even if it turns out the explosion was caused by a bomb.
Federal investigators have not determined what caused the crash, but a spokesman said private experts in aircraft structure and explosives have compiled enough evidence to show it was mechanical rather than sabotage.
NTSB investigators have concluded there was an explosion in the jet's center fuel tank. Kreindler's theory suggests the explosion may have been caused by a fuel leak ignited by a spark from corroded electrical connections to the fuel pumps or motors.
The suits contends a "mechanical, structural and-or electrical failure" caused a "limited explosion of the center fuel cell of the aircraft followed by a chain reaction structural failure and fire causing the plane to break up in mid-air."
In an interview with CNN, Kreindler said, "The explosion followed the path of least resistance."
"What the people on the ground saw was that line of fire proceeding back toward the fuselage. That's what they thought was a missile," Kreindler said.
The Paris-bound jumbo jet blew up and crashed into the Atlantic off New York's Long Island shore the evening of July 17, killing all 230 people aboard. Federal investigators have said they are looking at three possible causes -- a bomb, a missile or mechanical failure.
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