FBI previews TWA Flight 800 evidence with families
November 18, 1997
Web posted at: 11:20 a.m. EST (1620 GMT)
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Relatives of victims of TWA Flight 800
emerged from a meeting with the FBI on Monday satisfied that
the agency had done all it could in investigating criminal
leads. They also said a videotaped simulation of the crash,
prepared by the CIA, helped them understand what their
relatives went through.
The videotape is one article in a preview of evidence the FBI
is expected to present at a news conference Tuesday regarding
the crash. All 230 people on board the flight died when it
crashed off the coast of New York in July 1996.
Several family members said the video was especially helpful
in that it helped them picture what their relatives
experienced in the crash.
"The image was so vivid, you can see really what those 230
passengers must have gone through," said Jose Cremades, the
head of The Families of Victims of Flight 800. Cremades lost
his 15-year-old son in the crash.
The relatives who attended the FBI presentation also said
they were satisfied with the agency's conclusions. Aurelie
Becker, whose 19-year-old daughter died in the crash, praised
the leadership of James Kallstrom, the FBI assistant director
who headed the criminal probe.
Kallstrom "certainly used all the king's horses and all the
king's men to find out what happened to this airplane," she
said. "He brought everything to bear here."
Kallstrom told the families the FBI would return to the case
if any evidence of criminal activity developed.
The families are now turning attention to the NTSB, which
plans hearings next month as part of its continuing crash
Investigators are still baffled by the crash. They are sure
that the jumbo jet's nearly empty center fuel tank exploded,
splitting the plane in two. But what triggered that
explosion remains a mystery.
For family members still trying to make sense of the tragedy,
nailing down responsibility is a top priority.
"They put to bed the issue that it was a terrorist act," said
John Seaman, whose niece died in the crash. "But it's still
a terrible act, and someone is responsible, and the families
want to know the truth, and they want justice for those
people who were lost."