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TWA Flight 800 victims' families gather for memorial

A man touches the name of a passenger

A man touches the name of a passenger on TWA flight 800 at a memorial service to honor those who perished at Smith Point County Park in Brookhaven. Photo Credit: Newsday/Jori Klein

Saturday night marks 14 years since TWA Flight 800, bound for Paris, exploded after takeoff from Kennedy Airport, going down 10 miles south of Moriches Inlet. All 230 people aboard were killed.

Federal investigators concluded vapors in a huge fuel tank on the Boeing 747 had ignited, causing the explosion at 8:31 p.m. The catastrophe had a deep impact on Long Islanders, particularly those involved in recovery efforts.

Family and friends of the victims will gather Saturday at 8 p.m. at the TWA Flight 800 International Memorial, in Smith Point County Park, for the annual memorial service.

Members of the Families of TWA Flight 800 Association plan to announce formation of a "Friends Committee" that will seek money for upkeep of the black-granite memorial and surrounding grounds.

The endowment needs $3 million to cover the memorial's roughly $150,000 annual maintenance cost, according to John Seaman, the association's chairman. Checks can be sent to TWA Flight 800 Memorial Endowment, P.O. Box 1061, Clifton Park, N.Y., 12065.

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