The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last week denied a 2013 petition to re-examine the causes of the July 1996 accident in which TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean soon after takeoff from New York John F. Kennedy International Airport. A group called The TWA 800 Project filed the petition, claiming that a “detonation or high-velocity explosion” (possibly a missile) brought down the Boeing 747.
TWA Flight 800 alternative theories
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) received a petition June 19 to reconsider its investigation of the July 17, 1996 crash of TWA 800, a Boeing 747 that exploded while climbing toward Paris shortly after takeoff from New York JFK International Airport. The petition was initiated by a group of people tied to a new documentary film called TWA800, due for release next month on the Epix cable channel.
I get so sick of hearing pundits talk about how bad it is to criminalize aircraft accidents, how we need to be able to determine the cause of accidents without the threat of criminal sanctions such as fines and jail time impeding the free exchange of information. Some claim that the chilling effect of looming criminal inquiries would thwart the NTSB’s ability to determine probable cause and so on.
The NTSB determined that a July 2007 accident in Sanford, Fla., which killed the two aboard the airplane and three people on the ground, was caused by a series of poor decisions by flight department management and the pilots who flew the accident aircraft. The Cessna 310R, operated by Nascar's aviation division, crashed after the pilot reported an in-flight fire.
The journey of TWA Flight 800, which began from New York JFK International Airport on the hot evening of July 17, 1996, finally ended this spring, not at its intended Paris destination but just north of Dulles International Airport with the re-reconstruction of most of the front half of the Boeing 747 in the NTSB’s new training academy, where it will be used as a teaching tool for air crash investigators.
It is hard to believe that despite the passage of more than nine years since that hot July night, the discussion continues about TWA Flight 800, which crashed off the coast of Long Island in July 1996.
Ten years ago this month our aviation community suffered its second major hull loss in two months. On the heels of the ValuJet Douglas DC-9 crash in Florida, a 747-100 operating as TWA Flight 800 from New York to Paris entered a rapid descent after takeoff from Kennedy Airport and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean more than 10 miles south of Long Island on July 17, 1996.