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USS Grapple Arrives to Assist Grasp at TWA Crash Site

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 1996 – USS Grapple, a second rescue and salvage ship, joined USS Grasp in recovery efforts following the crash of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, N.Y.

Navy officials said both ships' lifting capabilities are enough to recover wreckage pieces from the plane that crashed July 17, killing 230 passengers. The two ships, plus USS Oak Hill, are assisting National Traffic Safety Board personnel in their investigation.

Besides adding divers and recovery equipment, Grapple also has a remote-operated vehicle. Another piece of equipment aiding the search is an experimental Laser Line Scan System. The system links with the search ship's side-scanning sonar to provide sea floor images used in mapping the debris field.

Navy officials said about 60 Navy divers are now searching for wreckage and victims. Their work is earning high praise from National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Robert Francis. "These guys are doing a wonderful job out there and I think they deserve everyone's thanks," said Francis. "I just continue to be so impressed with the talent and the facilities that are out there."

(From Navy News Service)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNavy Petty Officer 2nd Class Brad Fleming of Palatka, Fla., gets help from another diver as he prepares for another dive. Fleming and other Navy divers are assisting National Traffic Safety Board investigators in search and recovery operations at the crash site of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island, N.Y. Seaman Charles L. Withrow, USN  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageUSS Grapple steams toward Long Island, N.Y. to assist the USS Grasp and USS Oak Hill in recovery operations at the Flight 800 crash site.  
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