Navy Supports TWA Flight 800 Crash Investigation
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 24, 1996 The Navy salvage and rescue ship USS Grasp and the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill are assisting the National Transportation Safety Board's search and recovery of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, N.Y.
The Oak Hill will serve as an afloat command post and at-sea base of operations for the Navy support effort. The ship departed Norfolk, Va., July 23.
The Grasp, based at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, Va., departed July 21 for the crash site. It carries a remotely operated vehicle to search for the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders. The 90-member crew includes 15 divers, who will assist National Transportation Safety Board personnel in their investigation.
Bound for Paris from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport on July 17, Flight 800 exploded minutes after takeoff, killing 230 passengers and crew members. Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said DoD will provide any additional help the board requests.
Navy specialists from Washington have been on scene helping investigators since July 18. Bacon said the Navy initially sent salvage divers and listening equipment to help locate the aircraft's cockpit voice and flight data recorders. The Navy also sent sonar equipment to map the debris field for investigators and to locate aircraft wreckage.
Bacon also acknowledged efforts from the New York Air National Guard of West Hampton Beach, N.Y. "[They] fielded assets which were used in the early moments of the search," he said, "and we recognize the good work they've done and thank them for that."