Group claims TWA Flight 800 evidence altered to look like accident
NEW YORK CITY — A group of investigators has called for a new probe into the explosion of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996, which killed 230 people and was blamed on a spark from faulty wiring that ignited the fuel tank.
A new documentary set for release claims there’s “solid proof that there was an external detonation.”
“Test results were changed by the FBI lab and in some cases the NTSB,” said retired NTSB investigator Henry Hughes.
The airplane was just minutes into a flight from JFK to Paris when it exploded over Long Island Sound.
After a 4-year long investigation, it was determined a spark from faulty wiring leading to the center fuel tank caused the plane to explode. But now, six retired members from the original investigation team, want the case reopened. They say the evidence they examined proves that one or more explosions outside the aircraft caused the crash.
Scores of witnesses observed a streak of light and a fireball, giving early rise to suspicions that the terrorists had struck the plane with a rocket.
Investigators concluded the streak was likely burning fuel streaming from the plane’s wing tank.
“Of course, everyone knows about the eyewitness statements, but we also have corroborating information from the radar data, and the radar data shows a(n) asymmetric explosion coming out of that plane — something that didn’t happen in the official theory,” Tom Stalcup told CNN’s “New Day.” Stalcup is co-founder of the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization and has been a longtime and passionate critic of the official investigation.
“I was convinced that the part had been damaged by a high explosion because of the entrance hole and the exit hole,” said James Speer, TWA 800 investigator.
“The agenda was, this was an accident, make it so,” said Robert Young, another TWA investigator.
Suspicions that criminals or terrorists were behind the TWA 800 explosion are not new. The FBI conducted a parallel investigation, but concluded that the incident was not a crime or terrorist attack.
“It seems they have waited until they have their pensions before they became whistle blowers,” said James Kallstrom, fmr. FBI assistant director. “It’s a bunch of bull crap.”
Still, the documentary about the crash sheds new light on the investigation. A number of people have come forward, “all saying the same thing: that there was an external force — not from the center wing tank, there’s no evidence of that — but there is evidence of an external explosion that brought down that plane,” Stalcup said.
He cited “corroborating information from the radar data” and complained that “not one single eyewitness was allowed to testify — that’s unheard of.”
“The family members need to know what happened to their loved ones,” he said.
Asked why such information might have been suppressed, Stalcup said, “That’s a question that should be answered when this investigation gets reopened.”
The documentary, “TWA Flight 800,” will premiere July 17, the 17th anniversary of the crash.
The NTSB said Tuesday that it was aware of the pending release of the documentary, which will air on EPIX TV network, and of the producers’ intent to file a petition to reopen the investigation.
CNN contributed to this report.