TWA Flight 800
By Peter Meyer

Update 1997-11-19 Update 2001-10-15 Update 2002-03-08
Update 2003-10-23 Update 2013-06-20 Update 2013-08-10

On July 17, 1996 TWA Flight 800 exploded in the evening sky off Long Island and plunged into the Atlantic, killing all 230 people aboard. What was the cause? Mechanical failure? A bomb on board? A terrorist missile? A missile of another sort? The wreckage was recovered from the sea floor and the plane mostly reconstructed. One would have thought that such a close examination would reveal the cause, but, strangely, this has not been so. Or at least, the official examiners have not told us the cause.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a bright object "streaking" towards the 747, and said that the object altered course as it approached the jet. This obviously suggested a missile attack, and in the succeeding months this possibility was considered in some press reports (the New York Times, 96-07-19; the Washington Times, 96-07-24; the New York Post, 96-09-22).

But government authorities have strongly resisted the missile theory, attempting to convince the public that the cause was mechanical failure. On 97-06-03 Bernard Loeb, the top official of the National Transportation Safety Board, referred to the disaster as "an accident" and strongly implied that it was "the accumulation of combustible fuel vapors" in the central fuel tank which was responsible. Really? (See the Reuters report.) But what if the cause was publicly unthinkable? Would the media ferret out the facts anyway? In this case they seem to have shown extreme reluctance to do so (as in the case of the Oklahoma bombing). What if TWA 800 not only was blown out of the sky by a missile, but it was a missile fired by a U.S. Navy ship? There is evidence that this is the case, and it would not be the first time that the U.S. Navy has shot down a civilian airliner — recall the U.S.S. Vincennes in the Persian Gulf. (And by the way, it's likely that the Lockerbie disaster was in reprisal for the action of the Captain of U.S.S. Vincennes. Talk of "Libyan suspects" is just a smokescreen by the U.S. and the U.K. governments who wish to avoid publicly admitting that the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 was in reprisal for the missile attack on the Iranian airliner.)

If it turns out that 230 civilians died off Long Island because of an error by the U.S. Navy, we have here a case not only of government suppression of the facts but such a blatant failure on the part of the U.S. media to investigate, or to report the results of investigation, that it amounts to a gross betrayal of the trust of the American people in the mainstream media to inform them of the facts in a matter of major public interest (but this betrayal of trust is in fact constant, it occurs continually, and is not simply a one-time occurrence in this case).

An extensive consideration — some would say a confirmation — of the hypothesis that the cause of the destruction of TWA Flight 800 was a U.S. Navy guided missile was published on the web by Ian Goddard (among others) in 1996.  In 2001 Ian Goddard updated his analysis as TWA Flight 800 & Myths about the Friendly Fire Theory (reproduced here on Serendipity by permission of the author).  Some quotations from this report:

Why are there holes from projectiles that traveled downward like bullets through Flight 800? Other than a high-explosives detonation, what could accelerate small fragments to bullet-like velocities along the indicated trajectories? The official investigation provides no answer.

... samples of Flight 800 seat cushioning ... were covered with a red residue containing high concentrations of elements found in missile fuels and explosives.

... investigators at Calverton kept sending debris with traces of explosives to FBI headquarters only to have the FBI consistently declare those traces to have been false positives, even though investigators at Calverton were using the highly sensitive and accurate EGIS detection system.

... Glen Schulze, a flight data recorder (FDR) expert, determined that the last four seconds of FDR data had been tabulated but was removed from the data before it was released to the public.

The chief medical examiner for the crash ... stated that "virtually all of the bodies had shrapnel" ...

... witness sketches show a projectile heading to the crash in a direction opposite to that which Flight 800 would be seen traveling by the witnesses.

For all these witnesses, Flight 800 would travel from right to left in their field of vision facing the crash. However, for all of these witnesses, the projectile they saw traveling to the crash traveled from left to right, opposite to the flight path of the doomed aircraft. It follows logically that the high-speed projectile they all saw could not have been Flight 800.

Between 1995 and 1997, missile-like phenomena were observed near Long Island on multiple occasions.

When Reed Irvine of Accuracy In Media asked FBI investigative head James Kallstrom about three of the radar-tracked vessels below Flight 800, Kallstrom said they were "Navy vessels that were on classified maneuvers."

An early report in the London Times said: "A law enforcement official told the New York Post that the satellite pictures show an object racing up to the TWA jet ... and smashing into it."

... witnesses were barred from all official public hearings on the crash.

Based on established precedent in aviation accident investigation, the eyewitness evidence in the Flight 800 case is more than sufficent to determine "felled by missile" as the probable cause. Based on historical precedent, such a determination is especially indicated in light of the fact that no physical evidence explaining what caused the center fuel tank to ignite was allegedly found ...

Other web sites which consider the hypothesis that a Navy missile brought down TWA 800 include:

In April 1997 a book was released by Zebra Books, The Downing of TWA Flight 800, by James Sanders ...


an investigative journalist and former police officer. Sanders, who has thoroughly and independently researched the case, now presents extensive supporting evidence that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a U.S. Navy missile that killed 230 people on July 17, 1996. Evidence indicates that top government officials knew the truth just a few hours later, and immediately ordered a campaign of disinformation.

Among the evidence:

  • Proof of the straight line pattern of reddish-orange residue left in the missile's wake on the passenger seats
  • The structural damage to the plane: a bullet-like entrance and exit 'wound'
  • The original FAA radar report indicating an unidentified object approaching the plane that the FBI tried to suppress
  • 34 independent eye-witnesses to the 'flare in the sky'
  • Photographic proof of the missile
  • Confirmation of the Navy's target/missile exercises in the restricted area where Flight 800 went down

Update 1997-11-19

FBI concludes no criminal evidence in TWA 800 crash

"Following 16 months of unprecedented investigation ... we must now report that no evidence has been found which would indicate that a criminal act was the cause," Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom told a news conference.

A carefully-worded statement. Indeed, it is unlikely that "a criminal act" was the cause (in the sense of a criminal action intentionally performed). It was probably (although not certainly) an accident. Few, if any, suggest that in this case the U.S. Navy deliberately shot down a civilian airplane (unlike in the case of the U.S.S. Vincennes). If a Navy missile brought down the airplane it was presumably accidental (in the absence of any evidence to the contrary), and thus "no criminal act" was involved, except insofar as gross negligence is a criminal act.

A CIA video simulation shown during the briefing concluded that witnesses to the crash off the Long Island coast saw the breakup of the doomed plane in the seconds after the initial explosion, not the explosion itself. — CNN

Does this make sense? And why is the CIA involved at all?

The CNN message board concerning TWA Flight 800 [link expired] asks:  "Has the Internet provided a breeding ground for conspiracy theories surrounding the TWA crash?" Several posters scoff at a conspiracy. Indeed, there is no reason to believe there was a conspiracy. As stated above, no-one suggests that in this case the U.S. Navy deliberately shot down TWA 800. The denial of a conspiracy is another way to distract attention from what seems the mostly likely cause: a U.S. Navy missile test gone tragically wrong.

Further links:

It seems that this is not the first case of a suspected navy missile blowing a civilian airliner out of the sky.

And not the last ...

Update 2001-10-15

Five years after TWA Flight 800 crashed the official explanation is that the jet airliner crashed because of "an explosion of the center wing fuel tank", the cause of the explosion being undetermined.  Oh, really? ...  In the response to the evidence that the plane was brought down by a U.S. Navy missile (see the above-mentioned TWA Flight 800 & Myths about the Friendly Fire Theory by Ian Goddard) there is silence from the investigating authorities.

On 2001-10-04 a Russian Tupolev-154 jet airliner belonging to Sibir Airlines with 78 people on board, en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk, crashed into the Black Sea. There were no survivors. Ukraine's air defense forces were holding exercises at the time of the crash, exercises which included the firing of S-200 anti-aircraft missiles over the Black Sea. For over a week Ukraine denied that one of its missiles had caused the jet to crash, but Russian investigators found shrapnel from an S-200 missile embedded in parts of the plane recovered from the Black Sea, and concluded that such a missile had brought the plane down.

A Ukrainian official today admitted that his country's military may have mistakenly shot down a Russian commercial airliner over the Black sea last week, killing all 78 people on board.

The announcement by Yevhen Marchuk, the head of the Ukrainian security council and a member of the commission investigating the tragedy, marks the first time that the country has conceded it may be responsible.

"The reason for the crash could be an unintentional hit by an S-200 missile during the Ukrainian air defence exercises," Mr Marchuk told a press conference today, adding that investigators would make their final conclusions after further, complex research.

The Russian chief of the investigative commission, Vladimir Rushailo, said today that the aircraft had been hit by an anti-aircraft missile, the Interfax news agency reported.

— The Guardian (U.K.), 2001-10-12

On 2001-10-13 Ukraine's defence minister Oleksandr Kuzmuk apologised for Ukraine's role in the accident, and two members of the Ukrainian air defense forces offered their resignations (BBC: Black Sea crash prompts resignations).

This incident has received very little attention in the U.S. mainstream media (CNN's U.S. website carried a report of the Ukrainian admission, three mouse clicks from its home page, for one day only), obviously because the fact of a civilian passenger jet being shot down accidentally by a missile fired during military exercises is too potent a reminder of what very likely happened to TWA Flight 800.

Five years after the crash of TWA Flight 800 the U.S. Navy has still not apologized for its role in the deaths of 230 civilians. If the Ukrainian air defense forces can admit their error and apologize, why can't the U.S. Navy?

The answer of course, is that the United States of America, unlike the Ukraine, believes itself to be a superpower, omnipotent, invincible and infallible (and goes around bombing civilians to demonstrate this).  For it to admit that it could make a mistake such as the accidental destruction of an American civilian jet airliner, killing all passengers and crew, is impossible.

Update 2002-03-08

On this date an article by Joel Skousen entitled Internet Rumblings: No Airliner Crash at Pentagon was published on the web [now disappeared]. Halfway down the page the author moves to the topic of TWA Flight 800, where he states that Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media was able to interview a former member of the U.S. Navy, Randy Beers, who was on board a submarine near where TWA 800 went down and that he witnessed the event. Skousen reproduces portions of the interview in his article.

The Mysterious Disaster of Trans World Airlines — Flight 800

The core issue is the allegation that at least one missile brought down TWA-800. The existence of literally hundreds of witnesses are sufficient by themselves. The failure to adequately interview the most credible of these is without excuse. The official discounting of the witnesses is beyond being simply, 'criminal.' While the exact details of the missile aspect are obscure, there remains the overwhelming evidence that such did happen, again, supported by the extreme measures to cover up that scenario.

Update 2003-10-23 (to 2006)

Update 2013-06-20

This page first appeared on this website in 1996. In the 17 years since then the author of this site has never seen any reference to this page in any article on a website or blog, or in any comment on any article, concerning this subject. It's as if this page had never existed. It never existed, even while it existed.

Update 2013-08-10

A copy of the Serendipity website is available on flash drive. Details here.

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