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PROBERS DON’T THINK TRACES OF CHEMICAL ARE TIED TO BLAST

SHARE PROBERS DON’T THINK TRACES OF CHEMICAL ARE TIED TO BLAST

Nitroglycerin was found on the wreckage of TWA Flight 800, but investigators do not believe it was connected to the explosion that killed 230 people aboard the jetliner, a source close to the investigation said Monday.

The source, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said tests found traces of the chemical on wreckage near the back of the plane "and not anywhere near where the other explosive chemical was found."FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom announced Friday that "microscopic explosive traces of unknown origin" had been found on wreckage. Sources have identified that chemical as PETN, which is found in some plastic explosives and is sometimes used as a detonator.

But the source told the AP Monday that while nitroglycerin was also found, it "does not appear to have been connected to the PETN." He speculated the nitroglycerin "could have been brought aboard by a person with a heart problem." Nitroglycerin is used in making dynamite and for the treatment of some heart conditions such as angina.

Kallstrom said at a news conference Friday that the trace amount of the explosive was not enough to declare the TWA explosion a criminal act and said "other evidence of some kind, for example physical damage . . . would need to be available in addition to the confirmed trace findings."

The finding of residue from an explosive was the first concrete evidence pointing toward a bomb or a missile, rather than mechanical failure, as the cause of the blast.

Navy divers were still at work on the hunt for evidence and Monday were nearing the end of the search for wreckage in the areas where they might expect to find evidence.

More than 160 divers have worked along with Navy salvage vessels to recover about 60 percent of the aircraft from depths up to 120 feet.

But the recovery doesn't mean investigators will be able to quickly identify the cause of the July 17 disaster that killed 230. Analysis of the shredded, mangled pieces can take weeks.

By late Monday, divers are expected to complete checking every location identified by sonar in the two debris fields closest to Kennedy Airport, said Navy Rear Adm. Edward K. Kristensen.

One of those two areas contained what authorities believed were the first parts of the plane to fall, including a section above the center fuel tank that may be critical to determining the cause of the explosion.