FBI: 'bomb caused jet crash'

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The Independent Online
FBI Iinvestigators and aviation experts are convinced that the explosion aboard TWA Flight 800, the Boeing 747 that plunged into the sea off Long Island on Wednesday night killing 230, was caused by a bomb.

On Friday evening Louis Freeh, head of the FBI, briefed congressmen in Washington on developments, and after the meeting Senator Orrin Hatch told reporters: "It looks as though it's at least a matter of sabotage."

Robert Francis, vice-chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, has been careful not to rule out mechanical failure but yesterday he was telling reporters: "The possibility of a criminal act is a distinct one."

But with more than 90 per cent of the plane's wreckage still on the ocean floor, investigators yesterday were far from establishing the precise nature of the explosion, let alone who might have caused it and why.

The hundred bodies recovered so far have apparently yielded nothing of value to investigators, but Boeing 747 technical experts say there was nothing other than a bomb that could have caused so instantaneous an explosion. However, a TWA spokesman would not say whether the plane had been fitted with redesigned fuse pin mountings - mandatory after the 1992 El Al crash in Amsterdam.

n The crash is the latest headache for the troubled Lloyd's of London insurance market. Officials are bracing for a possible pounds 200m of claims if the cause turns out to be a bomb.

America neurotic, page 11

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