The ashes of the three victims were scattered on the shimmering blue water after a short religious ceremony on board the Navy destroyer USS Briscoe. The rite was attended by the closest members of the Kennedy family, among them JFK Jnr's sister, Caroline - now the only surviving immediate relative of the assassinated president, John F Kennedy - Edward Kennedy, patriarch of the Kennedy clan, and his son Patrick. The Bessette sisters' mother and stepfather and Lauren's twin sister were also on board.
Sea lanes and air space were closed during the ceremony, to keep television cameras at bay.
Urns containing the ashes had been transported to the Briscoe early in the morning, along with three folded American flags and three wreaths of red, yellow and white flowers.
The burial arrangements were completed with exceptional dispatch, apparently reflecting the Kennedy family's wish to bring the extraordinary outpouring of public sorrow and nostalgia to an early close.
The three bodies had been recovered the previous afternoon in the wreckage of the aircraft under 116 feet of water, seven miles south-west of Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard. Salvage operations to recover the wreckage were still in progress yesterday.
Controversial burial, page 2