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Wednesday, April 8, 1998 Published at 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK

World: Americas

Boeing 747s checked in wake of crash
image: [ NTSB officials believe faulty wiring connecting the fuel system may be to blame ]
NTSB officials believe faulty wiring connecting the fuel system may be to blame

United States safety officials have called for mandatory checks to be carried out on all Boeing 747 aircraft.

[ image: It took a year for investigators to rule out terrorism]
It took a year for investigators to rule out terrorism
The move follows a warning that the TWA jumbo jet which crashed off New York in July 1996 had damaged wiring in its fuel system.

The crash of Paris-bound TWA 800 mystified the airline safety world. It was nearly a year before officials were able to rule out terrorism.

The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) now believes the cause had something to do with the faulty wiring which was connected to the fuel system of the plane.

As a precautionary measure, the NTSB has recommended that the same wiring is inspected on the older 747 100 series and some of the newer 200 and 300 models.

Boeing has been carrying out its own tests looking at ways to protect the central fuel tank. It is thought that a spark from the faulty wiring may have ignited fumes inside flight 800's fuel tank.

However, the NTSB stresses that despite these recommendations it has still not reached any final conclusions about the cause of the crash which claimed the lives of 230 people.

British Airways, one of the world's biggest operators of Boeing aircraft, has said safety inspections will be carried out during usual maintenance checks.

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