Any aviation disaster where loss of life occurs is as awful as it is heart-wrenching.
And perhaps they should never be compared.
But the TWA Flight 800 disaster occurring on July 17th, 1996 that claimed 230 lives is especially bad...and awful.
Flight 800 took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 8:20 PM headed to Rome with a stop first in Paris.
Some 12 minutes after takeoff the Boeing 747-100 exploded and broke up in flames, its remnants splashing in to the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches, New York.
Burning debris rained down across the ocean for 20 minutes.
No one survived the horrific event.
Terrorist Attack First Thought to be Cause of Flight 800 Explosion, Later Disproven
There were several reports from eyewitnesses on the ground claiming they had seen something resembling tracers...and thus many believed a surface-to-air took the aircraft down.
Some still do.
This was later disproven by the NTSB.
The cause was likely a spark from a faulty wire that ignited a one of the fuel tanks.
Flight 800 Wreckage Has Sat in a Hangar for 25 Years...Now it Will Be Destroyed and Melted Down
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will 'officially' destroy the wreckage (called 'certified destruction') in the near future out of respect for the families of the tragedy:
Investigators recovered 95% of the plane's wreckage and reconstructed it in a hangar in New York before transporting it to the NTSB training center in northern Virginia in 2003.
That wreckage was crucial in helping the NTSB determine the crash was likely caused by an electrical spark that ignited fumes inside the center fuel tank.
It's been 25 years...but it's no less painful for the loved ones left behind:
Jill Ziemkiewicz’s mother, Carol, a former third grade teacher who now lives in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, said she hasn’t decided yet on whether she wants to make a final trip to the warehouse to view the plane that took her youngest daughter’s life. She saw the wreckage years ago and was deeply disturbed.
“I went there knowing it might upset me, but it really tore me apart,” Carol said. “It was so upsetting. It affected me a lot.”