The NTSB has just anounced they will deny the requests from The TWA 800 Project to reopen the investigation of the 1996 Crash of TWA Flight 800.
TWA Flight 800 exploded while climbing to cruise altitude and exploded shortly after departing New York’s JFK International airport on the night of July 17, 1996–230 passengers and crew were killed.
The NTSB claims that the investigation concluded in August of 2000 into the accident was “exhaustive” and indicates: “This remains one of the largest transportation accident investigations in US history.”
While terrorism was suspected, the NTSB determined that the likely cause was an explosion in the centre wing fuel tank.
The NTSB points out that a thorough criminal investigation was conducted by the FBI and the NTSB. “Neither investigation found evidence of a crime, and the FBI ended the criminal probe in 1997.”
“Our investigations are never ‘closed’,” said Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. “We always remain open to the presentation of new evidence.”
The NTSB also states in their announcement:
Before responding to the petition, NTSB staff met with the petitioners’ representatives and listened to an eyewitness who described what he saw on the night of the accident. After a thorough review of all the information provided by the petitioners, the NTSB denied the petition in its entirety because the evidence and analysis presented did not show the original findings were incorrect.
In June, the NTSB invited us at the Airplane Geeks podcast to tour their Northern Virginia training facility, which includes the reconstructed TWA flight 800 aircraft. We received a presentation describing the investigation and then examined the actual aircraft. All of us left with absolutely no faith in the conspiracy theories that a missile brought down the plane. Those theories are not supported by the physical evidence. After detailed analysis by the NTSB, FBI, and CIA, the eyewitness accounts contain observations that are consistent with an explosion in the center tank caused by fuel vapors.
It’s great that you got to have this first-hand experience to validate the NTSB’s decision. These things are always painful, and there is no limit to the conspiracy theories which arise around these events, but it’s important for people to know that the NTSB does a very thorough job of looking into matters–which is why these investigations can take time. The investigators at the NTSB have years of experience in their field and are very specialised, the resources available to them for conducting investigations are many. But when ordinary people get a chance to see the results of the investigation, as you have, and reach the same conclusion, I think it helps everyone else to accept that the findings are correct. Not that you’re ordinary–you’re extraordinary! 😉 Thanks for sharing this, Max!