James Kallstrom, FBI agent who investigated TWA Flight 800 explosion, dies at 78

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Tuesday, July 6, 2021
James Kallstrom, FBI agent who led TWA Flight 800 investigation, dies
James Kallstrom, FBI agent who led TWA Flight 800 investigation, dies.

James Kallstrom, the FBI agent who ran the criminal investigation into the mid air explosion of TWA Flight 800, has died.

He was 78.

As assistant FBI Director in Charge of the New York office, Kallstrom led an exhaustive investigation into the July 1996 disaster, which ultimately ruled out a bomb, missile, or sabotage.

James Kallstrom, assistant director of the FBI, holds a sheet of aluminum in front of the reconstructed fragments of TWA Flight 800 in Calverton, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 19, 1997
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Conspiracy theories linger, however.

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Peter looked at Lisa and asked if she would marry him. What Peter didn't remember was that they were already married.

Kallstrom himself initially suspected the plane was downed by a bomb or missile and deployed more than 1,000 agents into a 16-month investigation that ultimately disproved that theory.

In doing so, he became the face of the investigation, appearing at more than 90 news conferences as well as memorial services for the victims.

He died just days before the July 17 25th anniversary of the Flight 800 explosion.

The Europe-bound Boeing 747 exploded and crashed off Long Island shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board.

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The Boeing 747 exploded mid-air and landed off Long Island's east shoreline on July 17, 1996.
WABC Photo/ WABC Archive Footage

Kallstrom was also featured on Eyewitness News' First Responder Friday in 2019.


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