In July 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean near New York, just minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport. All 230 people on board the flight died in the crash.
Now, almost 17 years later, former investigators are urging authorities to re-open the investigation into the cause of the crash. According to the Associated Press, the call are being made just prior to the release of a new documentary on the event that claims to show new evidence that TWA Flight 800 was shot down by a missile. A petition has been filed with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The new documentary, titled TWA Flight 800, is scheduled to air July 17 on the Epic premium cable TV channel. According to Epix, the movie features "six former member of the official crash investigation breaking their silence to refute the officially proposed cause of the jetliner's demise and reveal how the investigation was systematically undermined."
The FBI had initially investigated the crash as a possible missile attack. The NTSB's final report stated that the explosion on the flight was due to the ignition of the fuel/air mix in the plane's center wing fuel tank, likely caused by an electrical short circuit.
The NTSB today released a statement regarding the petition, emphasizing that its 4-year investigation into the crash was one of the board's most extensive investigations ever. From the statement:
The NTSB today received a petition for reconsideration of its investigation into the July 17, 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800. As required by NTSB regulation, a petition for reconsideration of Board findings or a probable cause determination must be based on the discovery of new evidence or on a showing that the Board’s findings are erroneous. The NTSB will review the details of the petition to determine if it meets the requirements set forth in the regulation.
The TWA Flight 800 investigation lasted four years and remains one of the NTSB’s most detailed investigations. Investigators took great care reviewing, documenting and analyzing facts and data and the NTSB held a five-day hearing to gather additional facts before determining the probable cause of the accident during a two-day Board meeting.
The NTSB pointed out that its 400-page report on the crash has been available publicly for over a decade. It also stated that 17,000 pages of supporting material from the board's docket is also publicly available.