Covering Flight 800

I caught a headline reminding me that last night was the 21st anniversary of the Flight 800 crash off Long Island. I drove north from Philadelphia overnight and arrived before dawn on this date to cover the aftermath but there wasn’t much to see.

I made a few pictures showing bodybags and debris being offloaded from boats, including this one showing some items recovered from the area of the crash. I thought this looked like a passenger seat but everything else I photographed was even less recognizable.

Before leaving home, I watched some cable news coverage, including MSNBC which had launched just a few days earlier. As I recall, they actually used a paper map and red sharpie to to illustrate the location.

At the scene, the Coast Guard was offering opportunities for photojournalists to take pool responsibilities on some of their boats, but with no guarantee that we would find anything or when we would get back.

Considering that I still needed to find a hotel to set up, develop and scan my film, and get my modem connected, I couldn’t take that chance and still be sure to make my deadline that night.

The conspiracies theories emerged some time later.