Petition Formally Filed to Reopen NTSB Probe of TWA 800 Crash (+video)

Photo Credit: Newsday

Photo Credit: Newsday

The petition to reopen the probe comes before the July release of a documentary — “TWA Flight 800” — that features testimony from former investigators who raise doubts about the National Transportation Safety Board’s conclusion that the crash was caused by a center fuel tank explosion, probably caused by a spark from a short-circuit in the wiring. The documentary is scheduled to air in July on the 17th anniversary of the crash.

“We don’t know who fired the missile,” said Jim Speer, an accident investigator for the Air Line Pilots Association, one of those seeking a new review of the probe. “But we have a lot more confidence that it was a missile.”

In a statement, the NTSB called the 4-year-long Flight 800 investigation among the “most detailed” in the agency’s history. The accident report covered 400 pages and had 17,000 pages of supporting material.

The NTSB said that the probable-cause findings only could be reconsidered based on “the discovery of new evidence or on a showing that the board’s findings are erroneous.”

Those calling for a review of the investigation include former NTSB accident investigator Hank Hughes and Bob Young, a former senior accident investigator for the now-defunct TWA. Tom Stalcup, a physicist and co-founder of a group called Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, also questions the NTSB’s original findings and is featured prominently in the documentary.

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