Body of Kennedy is found on ocean floor

David Usborne@dusborne
Wednesday 21 July 1999 23:02

CRASH INVESTIGATORS confirmed yesterday that the body of John F Kennedy Jnr had been located on the ocean floor seven miles off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, four days after the small plane he was piloting plunged into the sea, killing him and his two passengers.

His remains were found inside a portion of the plane's fuselage, officials said. There was no word last night on the whereabouts of the bodies of the other two victims, his wife, Carolyn Bessette, and her sister, Lauren Bessette.

Members of the Kennedy family, including Senator Edward Kennedy, were taken by US Coast Guard helicopter from their Hyannisport compound on Cape Cod to a harbour on western Martha's Vineyard. From there they travelled by boat to a larger vessel, the Grasp, where preparations were under way to raise the body.

Fresh radar data about the flight's final moments revealed that Kennedy took his Piper Saratoga through a series of mysterious manoeuvres as he approached Martha's Vineyard en route from New Jersey on Friday evening. The erratic flight path bolsters speculation that JFK Jnr, a novice pilot, was disoriented in the darkness and heavy summer haze.

After sharp changes of height and direction, the plane dived in what some experts call a "graveyard spiral", dropping at the catastrophic rate of 5,000 feet per minute.

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