Investigators, moved by the financial hardship faced by the families of TWA Flight 800 victims, passed the hat to raise money for meals they ate during a weekend trip to look at the wreckage.
The 150 people will still have to pay their own airfare and hotel bills for Saturday’s first organized tour of the wreckage from the July 17 disaster that killed 230 people.
The families had asked TWA to help pay for the weekend, but the airline declined, even refusing to give bereavement rates to the families attending the tour.
Investigators plan to raise $2,000 to $3,000 to cover the cost of a cold-cut buffet and a dinner at the Smithtown Sheraton.
“The NTSB and FBI and law enforcement are digging into their own pockets to pay the bills,” one investigator said Sunday. TWA spokesman Mark Abels said the airline had already paid for the victims’ funerals and burial expenses.
“We have expended millions of dollars on behalf of these families, and airfare to the tour is not something that is included in that,” Abels said.