Sifting The Evidence

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EAST MORICHES, N.Y.: One day after divers recovered the voice and data recorders from the wreckage of flight 800, NTSB Vice Chairman Robert Francis said that the investigation into the crash is closing in on an explanation for the crash: "There is evidence down there that is going to tell us what happened to this aircraft." Analysis of the voice recorder shows that two minutes before TWA flight 800 exploded and crashed, the cockpit crew was casually discussing an erratic fuel flow gauge on the number four engine. Other than that, Francis said, the 747 was operating without any "anomalies." Experts are still analyzing the unidentified noise which abruptly ends the recording. While divers located two of the plane's engines on the ocean floor today, they have yet to salvage huge chunks of the airplane. "Although the Navy is sending divers to check out the wreckage, their priority is still finding the victims," says TIME's Elaine Rivera, reporting from East Moriches. "No manpower will be expended on a major salvage operation until all of the bodies have been recovered." Two more bodies were recovered today, bringing the total to 140 of the 230 people on the aircraft. "The NTSB and FBI have not yet ruled out any of three possible causes of the crash," says Rivera. "It could have been a bomb, a missile, or a catastrophic mechanical failure. They are not leaning toward any one particular theory." -->