NEW YORK — Nearly 1,000 TWA employees held a memorial service Wednesday to honor co-workers who died in the explosion and crash of Flight 800 one year ago today.
Many of the workers who gathered in a John F. Kennedy International Airport hangar wore pilots' uniforms, flight attendants' uniforms or mechanics' work clothes to the service, the first of many planned this week.
Fifty-three TWA employees and family members were among the 230 people who died when the Paris-bound Boeing 747 exploded 11 minutes after taking off from Kennedy on July 17, 1996.
The cause remains a mystery. Investigators say the explosion occurred in the Boeing 747's nearly empty center fuel tank, but they don't know what sparked it. Although they are leaning toward mechanical failure, they haven't ruled out a bomb or missile.
The service featured music and prayers.
A highlight was the unveiling of a 6-foot-high statue that features three etched-glass panels showing the plane taking off, being cupped gently in a pair of hands and then being transformed into a bird.
In Montoursville, Pa., a town that lost 16 high school students, a teacher and four chaperons in the explosion, a Service of Remembrance is scheduled this evening. Services are also scheduled this morning at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City and this afternoon at Smith Point's Park in Long Island.