Former Investigators Say They Have 'Solid Proof' Of An External Detonation
The producer of an as-yet-unreleased documentary says he as "solid proof" that an external detonation brought down TWA Flight 800 in 1996, and is asking the NTSB to re-open its investigation of the accident.
Tom Stalcup told CNN's 'New Day' program that several people have come forward to say there was an "external force" that caused the explosion, and that there is no evidence that the explosion originated in the center fuel tank of the Boeing 747 on July 17, 1996. The film's producers have signed a petition asking the NTSB to re-open the case based on their evidence.
The NTSB said that the explosion likely was caused by an electrical short circuit that ignited fuel vapors in the center tank. "(T)he sources evaluated by the investigation, the most likely was a short circuit outside of the [fuel tank] that allowed excessive voltage to enter it through electrical wiring..." according to the probable cause report.
ABC news reports that six of the investigators who worked on the case say that assessment is incorrect. In a trailer for the film, which will be released next month on Epix, a digital distributor of movies and other content, one investigator says that they did not find any part of the airplane which indicated there was a mechanical failure. ABC reported that the producers of the film do not speculate as to what the external forces might have been.
The Associated Press reports that, according to the petition, the investigators said that after a review of FAA radar evidence as well as new evidence not available to the NTSB at the time of the accident, the probable cause determination is "erroneous and should be reconsidered and modified accordingly."
Jim Speer, an accident investigator for ALPA, was more blunt. He told the AP "We don't know who fired the missile. But we have a lot more confidence that it was a missile."
However, former NTSB Director of Aviation Safety Tom Haueter said that the board's conclusion that it was an internal explosion is based on "irrefutable" evidence. He said there was no indication of any outside penetration of the airplane.
(Image provided by the NTSB)