July 17, 1996
Off East Moriches, New York
Trans World Airlines, Flight 800
Boeing B-747-131

While on a flight from New York to Paris, France, the aircraft exploded at FL 130, broke up and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island, N.Y. The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was an explosion of the center wing fuel tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank. The source of ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty but, of the sources evaluated by the investigation, the most likely was a short circuit outside of the center wing tank that allowed excessive voltage to enter it through electrical wiring associated with the fuel quantity indication system.  All 230 aboard were killed.

Air Traffic Control Transcript

BOS = Boston Center
E507 = Eastwing Flight 507
AZA609 = Alitalia Flight 609
VIR009 = Virgin Atlantic Flight 009
UAL002 = United Air Lines Flight 2

8:31:50 E507 We just saw an explosion out here; stinger bee five oh seven.
8:31:57 BOS Stinger bee five oh seven, I'm sorry I missed it, ah, you're out of eighteen did you say something else?
8:32:01 E507 Ah, we just saw an explosion up ahead of us here, about sixteen thousand feet or something like that; it just went down -- in the water.
8:32:10 AZA609 Alitalia six oh nine confirms just ahead of us.
8:32:25 VIR009 Boston, Virgin zero zero nine, I can confirm that out of my nine o'clock position, we just had an ... it looked like an explosion out there about five miles away, six miles away.
8:32:49 BOS An explosion six miles out at your nine o'clock position. Thank you very much sir. Contact New York approach one two five point seven.
8:32:56 BOS TWA eight hundred center
8:33:01 ? Investigate that explosion if you get a lat/long
8:33:04 BOS TWA eight hundred center
8:33:09 BOS TWA eight hundred, if you hear center, ident.
8:33:17 BOS Stinger bee five oh seven, you reported an explosion is that correct sir?
8:33:21 E507 Yes sir, about five miles at my eleven o'clock here.
8:33:31 BOS Alitalia six oh nine, contact Boston now on one two four point five two.
8:33:36 AZA609 One two four point five two and just for your information sir, we are just overhead the explosion; right overhead at this time, now a hundred and three miles from JFK.
8:33:48 E507 We are directly over the site were that airplane or whatever it was just exploded and went down into the water.
8:34:01 BOS Roger that, thank you very much sir. We're investigating that right now. TWA eight zero zero if you hear center, ident.
8:35:43 ? I think that was him.
8:35:45 BOS I think so.
8:35:48 ? God bless him.
8:37:05 E507 Thirty three oh five, so long, stinger five oh seven. Anything we can do for ya before we go?
8:37:11 BOS Well, I just wanna confirm that you saw the splash in the water approximately twenty southwest of Hampton, is that right?
8:37:20 E507 Ah, yes sir. it just blew up in the air and then we saw two fireballs go down into the water and there was a big small, ah, smoke, ah, coming up from that also, ah, there seemed to be a light. I thought it was a landing light and it was coming right at us at about, I don't know, about fifteen thousand feet or something like that and I pushed on my landing lights, ah, you know, so I saw him and then it blew.
8:37:40 BOS Roger that sir, that was a seven forty seven out there; you had a visual on that; anything else in the area when it happened?
8:37:47 E507 I didn't see anything. he seemed to be alone. I thought it had a landing light on, maybe it was a fire, i don't know.
8:37:51 BOS Stinger bee five oh seven, roger that and anything else comes to your mind, you can use your other radio; come back to this frequency and tell me about it.
8:37:58 E507 That's all I can think of at this time.
8:38:06 BOS United two, Boston on one two four point five two.
8:38:08 UAL002 One tow four five two, and is that airplane right in front of us now?
8:38:12 BOS He should be right underneath you, they reported the splashdown right underneath you about, ah, twelve and four miles.
8:38:18 UAL002 It's still burning down there.
8:38:20 BOS In the water?
8:38:21 UAL002 Well there's bright red and there's smoke coming up ... there's fire with smoke.
8:38:30 BOS Fire with smoke coming out of the water?
8:38:32 UAL002 Right at our position right now; I can give you a lat/long if you want.
8:38:35 BOS Absolutely, thank you.
8:38:44 UAL002 It's ah, forty thirty nine point one west zero seven two three eight point zero.
8:38:51 BOS Allright, we got forty thirty nine point one west zero seven two three eight point zero.

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