TWA 800 Cover-up Charges Rekindled

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Two citizens groups are rekindling the fire of allegations that the United States government engaged in an extensive cover-up over the cause of the TWA flight 800 crash July 17, 1996. The Boeing 747 went down off the Long Island, New York coastline claiming the lives of all 230 people on board.

During a forum held Friday afternoon, Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, USN (Ret.) reiterated his contention that TWA 800 was struck by a shoulder launched "Stinger" missile. While Donaldson did not claim to know who was behind the alleged attack he did cite an article by the Times of London which named Iranian sponsored terrorists.

During the press conference Donaldson used computer graphics to support his claims a shoulder-launched missile was fired from a small boat that damaged the aircraft's left-wing root.

FBI and National Transportation Safety Board officials concluded the cause of the crash was a spark that ignited the center fuel tank. But lingering doubts remain among many individuals lead to believe the plane was the target of a missile and that the federal government has engaged in a cover-up.

Donaldson is one of seven retired military officers and civilian pilots, members of the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals and Flight 800 Independent Research Organization, who have joined together to independently investigate the cause of the crash. He is maintains that the NTSB's center fuel tank theory is not credible.

At the press conference Donaldson alleged the "president or senior staff imposed an information blackout" to keep the "public from learning the real truth." He maintains the CIA, FBI and NTSB are also involved in the cover-up.

Donaldson said aviation fuel cannot explode in the manner which the NTSB suggested was behind the downing of the flight bound from New York's JFK international airport to France. He said the plane would have had to be above 14,000 feet for the fuel to become capable of igniting.

The federal investigation has reportedly been the most costly in the NTSB's 30-year history. The cost will continue to climb as the recovered portions of the aircraft remain reassembled in a New York hanger at a cost of $4.5 million annually. The wreckage was scheduled for relocation Thursday to another, less costly site at $500,000 a year. Those plans were postponed Wednesday.