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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FBI: Crash Cause Likely Mechanical

NEW YORK -- In the FBI's strongest statement since TWA Flight 800 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean last summer, FBI Director Louis Freeh said Sunday that mechanical failure and not terrorism was the likely cause of the crash.

"I think that the evidence as we have developed it to date and particularly the evidence we have not found, would lead the inquiry toward the conclusion that this was a catastrophic mechanical failure,'' Freeh said.

"The evidence is certainly not moving in the direction of a terrorist attack,'' he added during an appearance on NBC-TV's "Meet the Press.''

Freeh's remarks seconded the opinion of the National Transportation Safety Board, which late last year reached the tentative conclusion that the Boeing 747 jumbo jet disintegrated because of an explosion, probably caused by static electricity or a spark in its center fuel tank.

Sources close to the investigation stressed Sunday that Freeh's remarks were not based on any startling new findings.

"What prompted his remarks was his appearance on television,'' one of them said.