TWA Flight 800 crash wasn’t due to gas tank explosion, former investigators claim

The producers of an upcoming documentary on TWA Flight 800—which exploded and crashed into the waters off of Long Island on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 people on board—claim to have proof that an explosion outside the Paris-bound flight caused the crash. And six former investigators who took part in the film say there was a cover-up, and want the case reopened.

"There was a lack of coordination and willful denial of information," Hank Hughes, a senior accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. "There were 755 witnesses. At no time was information provided by the witnesses shared by the FBI."

Jim Speer, an accident investigator for the Airline Pilots Association who sifted through the recovered wreckage in a hangar, said he discovered holes formed consistent by a high-energy blast in the right wing, and requested it be tested for explosives. When the test came back positive, he said, he was "physically removed" from a room by two CIA agents.

They would not speculate on the reasons for the alleged cover-up.

After a four-year investigation, the NTSB concluded the plane was destroyed by a center fuel tank explosion likely caused by a spark from faulty wiring.

But according to Tom Stalcup, a co-producer of the documentary, the investigators have new "radar and forensic evidence proving that one or more ordinance explosions outside the aircraft caused the crash." The film, will premiere on EPIX on July 17, the 17th anniversary of the crash.

"These investigators were not allowed to speak to the public or refute any comments made by their superiors and/or NTSB and FBI officials about their work at the time of the official investigation," a news release announcing the documentary said. "They waited until after retirement to reveal how the official conclusion by the (NTSB) was falsified and lay out their case."

The investigators filed a petition to the NTSB calling for a new probe. The NTSB had said it would review any petition related to the 1996 crash, which touched off one of the most complex air disaster investigations in U.S. history.

The CIA and FBI conducted a parallel investigation to determine if a bomb or missile had brought down the plane.

Dozens of eyewitnesses in the Long Island area "recalled seeing something resembling a flare or firework ascend and culminate in an explosion," the CIA said in a 2008 report. "Had the crash been the result of state-sponsored terrorism, it would have been considered an act of war":

The CIA responded to the FBI’s request within 24 hours of the crash. This support consisted primarily of help from the Counterterrorist Center in the Directorate of Operations and from a small group of analysts in the Office of Weapons, Technology and Proliferation in the Directorate of Intelligence.

But after an eight-month investigation, the CIA "concluded with confidence and full substantiation that the eyewitnesses had not seen a missile."

"Our analysis demonstrates that the eyewitness sightings of greatest concern to us—the ones originally interpreted to be of a possible missile attack—took place after the first of several explosions aboard the aircraft," the CIA's Deputy Director of Intelligence wrote in a 1997 memo.

"We went back and interviewed these people and found them to be quite credible," Hughes said Wednesday.

He added: "We have no hidden agenda here; we just want the truth."

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No votes yet

This is nothing but media hype for a shitty documentary that's no doubt poorly sourced and deceptively edited. Opportunistic assholes like the director of this documentary should not be rewarded for exploiting tragedies.

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

It was not a missle that took down the plane.

Anyone who has actually seen a missle would not have seen a "streak of fire" as the witnesses stated. What they saw was the flight path of the plane after the fire ignited.

I went through a Safety Investigator's course. This accident, the Challenger, and the Princess Diana accident were accidents we looked at the reports on.

The conspiracy theorists who have concluded that this was not an accident have not produced a viable alternative that stands up to the official finding. Why would a terrorist organization blow up a plane and not take credit for it? The whole point of terrorism is to highlight your cause.

MikeyA

Guilty or not the terrorist got credit for the incident anyway.

Where? What terrorist group?

The investigation laid blame on a short circuit in the fuel tank. Even this documentary does not provide an answer.

MikeyA

The identity of the terrorist group will eventually be revealed. It took decades to identify the terrorist who bombed the church in Birmingham, Alabama killing four innocent little girls. The truth about this incident will eventually surface.

The identity will not be revealed because it was a technical failure.

You siding with the conspiracy theorists here undermines your already low credibility. This is because I continually approach issues from a fact based reasoning whereas you approach it from an emotion based reasoning. One can be proven the other refuses to believe even when made blatantly obvious.

MikeyA

Wake up, my brother, there are conspiracies all around us.

And they are not valid.

Look at the 9/11 conspiracy with the Loose Change video. Yet when they debated the engineers who wrote "The Science of 9/11" for Popular Science magazine the conspiracy theorists were shown to only use selective science that supported their theory.

Conspiracy theorist go into their "study" with a preconceived notion. They only utilize evidence that supports their belief and they ignore evidence that conflicts with their preconceived notion.

It's biased from the start and lacks credibility.

MikeyA

The people who commit these crimes are good at convincing us there is no conspiracy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I now present proof that ZC is a paranoid lunatic!

MikeyA

You darn right I'm paranoid, and sometimes when I look over my shoulder there is someone following me.

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