By: Roger Aronoff | CCNS
July 17 marks the 25th anniversary of the downing of TWA Flight 800, in which 230 people were killed when the Boeing 747 blew up off the coast of Long Island, New York just 12 minutes into a flight from New York to Paris. Last week in Ashburn, Va., not far from the nation’s capital, the reconstructed fuselage of the plane was set to be scrapped, as if to wipe that memory from the nation’s memory bank.
Earlier this month James Kallstrom died. He was the FBI’s headman in New York, and he led the FBI’s criminal investigation into the explosion that brought the plane down. I was set to meet with Kallstrom, along with my correspondent Reid Collins while working on a documentary on the subject in 2001, but less than an hour before our scheduled meeting, he called me to reschedule, which never came about.
This was a story that I was intimately involved with, having participated in the investigations into the cause of the disaster, and having written and produced a documentary laying out the case at the time for the three leading theories as to what brought the plane down: a naval exercise gone wrong; a terrorist attack on the plane; or a mechanical and electrical failure, which is the official version of what happened.
On July 2nd, 2013, I saw the reconstructed fuselage of TWA Flight 800 at a press briefing put on by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), shortly after the wreckage was brought to the NTSB Academy in Ashburn, about 45 minutes outside of D.C.