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Echoes of Lockerbie

July 20, 1996

The explosion of TWA Flight 800 near New York evoked eerie echoes of the 1988 Lockerbie disaster that killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

Both planes . . .

* Were Boeing 747 aircraft

* Blew up in mid-air shortly after taking off

* Involved U.S. airlines

* Failed to give distress warnings

* Were described as fireballs in the sky before crashing


The Pan Am flight was headed from London to New York when it exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Authorities believe the explosion was caused by a bomb concealed in a radio-casette recorder packed with the plastic explosive Semtex. They believe it was placed in a Samsonite suitcase filled with clothing. No one has ever gone to trail in the Lockerbie case. The United States and Britain have accused Libya of sheltering two suspects.

Plane's Service Record

The 747 that crashed off Long Island apparently experienced only "routine problems" during its lifetime, an airline maintenance expert who reviewed service reports on the aircraft said Friday. "It looks from these reports as if the plane had routine problems that were handled routinely." Raymond Goldsby, a retired airline maintenance and training director for a major U.S. carrier, told Reuters.

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