The National Transportation Safety Board said that it will destroy the reconstructed wreckage of TWA Flight 800, which exploded in the air 12 minutes after taking off from John F. Kennedy International Airport on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 people on board.
The NTSB spent weeks pulling the wreckage out of the water off the coast of Long Island so they could painstakingly reconstruct the aircraft. Investigators spent four years and $40 million trying to figure out what caused the Boeing 747 to crash. They eventually determined the most likely reason the plane exploded was because of a short-circuit which ignited flammable vapors in the fuel tank.
After the investigation was wrapped up, the NTSB used the wreckage of the plane, which was being stored in a 30,000 square-foot warehouse in Ashburn, Virginia, to train thousands of crash investigators from all over the world.
The agency promised the families of the crash victims that they would never publically display the wreckage of the plane.
"To honor this agreement made with the families of the victims of TWA Flight 800, the NTSB will work closely with a federal government contractor to dismantle the reconstruction and destroy the wreckage," the NTSB said.
The agency said the decision to destroy the wreckage was based on the fact that the lease on the warehouse was expiring along with new technologies investigators can use to determine what caused an airplane to crash or malfunction.
"Advances in investigative techniques such as 3-D scanning and drone imagery lessen the relevance of the large-scale reconstruction in teaching modern investigative techniques," the NTSB explained.
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