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Documentary Questions Cause of 1996 TWA Crash That Killed 230

Image: Documentary Questions Cause of 1996 TWA Crash That Killed 230 (Getty Images)

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 12:42 PM

An upcoming documentary on the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800 asserts that the plane was brought down by an external explosion, refuting the official explanation that an onboard explosion was responsible.

"Everyone knows about the eyewitness statements, but we also have corroborating information from the radar data, and the radar data shows an asymmetric explosion coming out of that plane — something that didn't happen in the official theory," co-producer Tom Stalcup told CNN's "New Day."

He said the film offers "solid proof that there was an external detonation."

Flight 800 left John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on July 17, 1996, bound for Paris. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island 12 minutes after takeoff, killing all 230 people aboard.

After a lengthy investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded the crash was caused by an explosion of flammable vapors in a fuel tank, most likely due to a short circuit.

But scores of witnesses observed a rising streak of light followed by a fireball, giving rise to suspicion that a missile struck the plane and leading to speculation that it was fired by a terrorist or was an errant U.S. Navy missile.

Stalcup complained that "not one single eyewitness was allowed to testify — that's unheard of."

William Donaldson, a retired Naval officer who conducted a private probe of the crash, released a report in 1998 claiming that TWA 800 was struck by two missiles fired from the water, and the FBI and NTSB conspired to cover up this fact due to political pressure.

The documentary's producers are submitting a petition, signed by some former investigators, asking the NTSB to reopen its investigation based on new evidence offered by the film, CNN reported.

The documentary cites investigators for the NTSB, TWA, and the Airline Pilots Association who "waited until after retirement to reveal how the official conclusion by the NTSB was falsified," according to a news release announcing the documentary.

Asked why information about the crash 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 on July 17, the anniversary of the crash, on EPIX TV network.

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