Watch CBSN Live

Flight 800's Lingering Mystery

July 17 will mark the third anniversary of TWA Flight 800, which crashed near Long Island, New York, in an accident that killed all 230 people aboard.

The Boeing 747's center fuel tank exploded just minutes after it left for Paris from New York's Kennedy International Airport.

Almost three years later, there has been no official cause of that crash, although investigators suspect a problem with the plane's wiring may have triggered an explosion. National Transportation Safety Board investigators suspect an electrical fault caused the fuel and air vapors to ignite in the 747's center tank.

But investigators continue to search for answers. So far, there's been no change in their conclusion.

Katie, Shannon and Pam Lychner, victims of TWA's Flight 800
Among the victims were Joe Lychner's wife Pamela and their daughters, Shannon and Katie.

Lychner was a member of a task force that made recommendations of its own. They created a law, "that will guarantee that survivors and family members that are involved in air disasters will be treated with dignity and compassion in the future," he said.

"We also highlighted a lot of the issues associated with the way airline disasters are investigated. Currently people who may be responsible for the crash, like Boeing and TWA, are parties to the investigation to determine what the cause of the crash was. In Texas we call that the fox guarding the henhouse. Frankly, it's a significant conflict of interest."

Lychner said he sees aging aircraft as the biggest issue facing the airline industry in the coming years.

"Boeing Corporation's own estimates call for by the year 2010, there is likely to be one major air disaster per week someplace in the world. That is a very scary prospect," he said.

He continued that one of the only ways to solve that problem will be through a mandatory retirement age for an aircraft.

But time seems to move differently for someone who lost a loved one in a crash such as this.

"There is always something that brings it home another aircrash, birthdays or something else. But on a good note, I have remarried and Im attempting to start over," he said.