MONTOURSVILLE, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) –23 years ago Wednesday, TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. More than 200 passengers on board that flight died, including 21 people from Lycoming County.
July 17, 1996. It’s a day that many in Montoursville will never forget.
“Oh, it was devastating for everybody you know, for Lycoming County, for a lot of people in general. It was a very unfortunate accident,” Julie Andreacci of Montoursville said.
At about 8:45 p.m., TWA Flight 800 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, shortly after taking off from Kennedy International Airport. The Montoursville 21 representing 16 students and five chaperones were on the plane headed to Paris, France on a trip with the high school’s French Club. It was a destination they never saw through.
“It’s crazy, especially in like their case, they were just together for a couple days and the next thing you know, they’re gone,” Rachel Shaffer of Montoursville said.
“One of those things that kind of stuck in my head, it was a sneaker floating across the ocean and I looked and I said ‘oh look, it’s blue and gold like Montoursville’,” Shelby Moser, a member of Montoursville High School graduating Class of 1996 said.
Moser tells Eyewitness News she was supposed to be on that flight.
“I don’t think I said anything for the rest of the day. I sat there and I thought ‘Oh my God those are my friends. We didn’t always get along in school but those were people that I spent most of my life with,” Moser said.
For several years now, people in Montoursville have been paying it forward with 21 acts of kindness on the anniversary to remember those who lost their lives. 21 angels are placed in the windows at Tanya’s Bridal, Tuxedos and Formal Wear. Others are paying tribute in different ways.
“Instead of giving us real roses, she gave us pins of the roses so each of us have one kind of in remembrance,” Shaffer said.
It’s a day that will go down in history forever.
“I think I’m going to cry. It’s important to remember because these families can’t forget,” Moser said.
18 crew members also lost their lives on TWA Flight 800.