TWA 800 families: FAA slow to enforce safety measures

The explosion of TWA Flight 800 off Moriches that took away 230 lives 14 years ago prompted many changes in the aviation industry, but the victims' relatives say some critical ones still haven't been made.

John Seaman lost his 19-year old niece in the tragedy. He and other TWA 800 families have spent years pressing the FAA for new rules to make flying safer.

"Our families are dead already," Seaman says. "We're doing this for your family members."

Following the reconstruction of the TWA wreckage it was concluded that the plane was brought down by the combination of aging wiring, a spark and explosive vapors in the fuel tank.

Safety experts say installing a nitrogen inerting system to prevent the buildup of explosive gases in aircraft fuel tanks will help prevent similar tragedies in the future.

All airplanes covered by the current FAA safety rule will be obligated to have the inerting equipment, which costs about $1 billion to install, by 2017. Many critics, however, are frustrated that it took 12 years for the FAA to require the safer tanks.

The FAA says there's no requirement in the new rules for the airlines to report back to the agency that they've retrofitted their planes with safer fuel tanks.

Related Information:NTSB's final report on TWA Flight 800 accidentFlight 800 Independent Researchers OrganizationNTSB's report on eyewitnessesVideo of FAA testimony and Flight 800 familiesMore on "Missile Theory"TWA Flight 800: The Impossible Zoom Climb

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