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New York's Pataki asks feds to help pay for TWA recovery

Pataki December 27, 1996
Web posted at: 6:15 p.m. EST

NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York Gov. George Pataki has appealed to the federal government to help pay for the cost of coping with the crash of TWA Flight 800.

Pataki said in a statement released Friday that the accident has cost local and state authorities about $11 million, including expenses for autopsying the 215 recovered passengers and running the Medical Examiners office around the clock.


Local and state governments incurred additional expenses paying regular and overtime salaries to state and local scuba divers and police officers. A total of 15 state and local government agencies spent money responding to the crash.

"I have determined that the severity and magnitude of this event necessitates the need for supplementary federal assistance," Pataki said in a letter to President Clinton.

TWA Flight 800 crashed July 17 after taking off from New York's Kennedy International en route to Paris. All 230 aboard were killed and the accident is still unexplained, even though officials have recovered nearly all of the wreckage from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.


In effect, Pataki was asking for federal disaster assistance. Phil Cogan, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Pataki's request had been received and was being reviewed.

Cogan added that while federal disaster aid had been provided in the case of terrorist activities such as the World Trade Center bombing, he knew of no case where such aid had been sent out in connection with a plane crash.

"We have forged a working partnership with the federal government in responding to floods, blizzards and wildfires," Pataki said. "I believe that partnership should be extended to include the extraordinary circumstances of this catastrophe."


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