The pilot of doomed TWA Flight 800 was found still strapped in his seat before a major section of his cockpit - a mangled mess of switches, instruments and seats - was raised from the ocean floor, investigators said Sunday.
The bodies of the pilot, Capt. Ralph G. Kevorkian, 58, of Garden Grove, Calif., and his flight engineer, Richard G. Campbell, 63, of Ridgefield, Conn., were retrieved Saturday night.
The recovery of bodies - 194 by Sunday, leaving 36 missing - and the arrival of bargeloads of wreckage were major weekend strides in a disaster probe that had been frustrated for days by bad weather.
The newly recovered wreckage included seats, instruments, switches and fuses mangled together in the cockpit, but did not include a crescent-shaped section with windows that searchers had previously seen under water.
“To see that mass of jumble of wires certainly brought home to me how difficult it’s going to be … to try to put that all back together again,” said James Kallstrom, the special agent in charge of the FBI probe. “Basically, it’s just a solid pile of debris all mixed together.”
National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Robert Francis said investigators would now begin the arduous task of untangling the wreckage to see what evidence it might contain on the cause of the July 17 explosion that killed 230 people.