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FBI previews TWA Flight 800 evidence with families

crash 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 probe.

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."


TWA Flight 800


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