US Unveiling New Rule On Airplane Fuel Tanks

ASHBURN, Va. — A government official says Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is announcing a new rule aimed at preventing airplane fuel tanks from exploding.

Wednesday’s announcement comes a day before the 12th anniversary of the destruction of TWA Flight 800, which exploded minutes after taking off from Kennedy Airport on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 people aboard.

An investigation concluded the Paris-bound plane was destroyed by a center fuel-tank explosion caused by a spark from a short-circuit in the Boeing 747’s wiring. Federal Aviation Administration researchers have been working to redesign fuel tanks to prevent such accidents.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.