KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former TWA employees hope a memorial will shine a light on what they believe happened to Flight 800. On Tuesday, the TWA Museum will honor those who lost their lives in the plane crash over Long Island 16 years ago.
The crash happened on July 17, 1996 and killed 230 people. The four-foot tall memorial has three glass pieces. One shows the flight taking off. Another shows the flight in God's hands and the third shows the airplane in the clouds. Former TWA employees say they feel hanging in the clouds describes what was determined to be the cause of the crash.
"I believe because there were maneuvers going on along the shore line there it was an accident. A missile hit that plane and took it out," said former flight attendant Karen Martin.
Karen Martin says she feels so strongly about this she's almost wearing her heart on her sleeve with a t-shirt depicting what she believes happened. However, the National Transportation Safety Board reports the cause of the accident was an explosion of flammable vapors in a fuel tank. Martin lost her dear friend flight attendant Maureen Lockhart on that flight. She says she remembers seeing the t-v reports that showed something hitting the plane.
"I watched that missile come up from the lower right screen hit the plane and the plane exploded over and over and over and over," Martin said.
Like Martin, former TWA pilot Bill Kirschner who says he flew that plane four days before it crashed believes it was not a mechanical error that took that plane down.
"I have to suspect with all the eyewitnesses that saw a streak going to the airplane not from it that it was a shoulder fired missile of some sort I just can't sum it up with any other solution," said retired pilot Bill Kirschner.
Whether you believe the former employee's theories or the NTSB's conclusion of the crash, museum volunteers hope the memorial of the ill-fated flight attracts people to this new permanent exhibit.
On Tuesday, the TWA Museum will mark the 16th anniversary of this deadly crash with a ceremony that will include a moment of silence to coincide with the time this flight disappeared from radar.
The TWA Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for seniors and kids ages 6 to 12-years-old, $5 for adults.
The memorial will be a permanent exhibit at the museum.