Interim Report on the Crash of TWA Flight 800
and the Actions of the NTSB and the FBI
By Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, USN Ret.
EXHIBIT 25 - EYEWITNESS REPORTS OF TWA FLIGHT 800
Provided by Michael HullWhat follows are eyewitness quotes or instances of eyewitness information from the press.
- 150 Credible Witnesses:"More than 150 credible witnesses - including several scientists and business executives - have told the FBI and military experts they saw a missile destroy TWA 800. 'Some of these people are extremely, extremely credible,' a top federal official said. 'When we asked what they saw and where they saw it, the witnesses out east pointed to the west, and the people to the west pointed to the east'."- The New York Post, September 22, 1996.
- A pilot interviewed on CNN (7/17/96) said that he saw something like a "stunt plane" dive down into the jumbo jet, which then split into two parts.
- Bakounis, Vasilis: Private Pilot and Olympic Airlines engineer -"Suddenly, I saw in the fog to my left, toward the ocean, a small flame rising quickly towards the sky. Before I realized it, I saw this flame become huge. My first impression was that it was a flare shot off a boat."
- Baur, Chris:"Almost due south [of the helicopter], there was a hard white light, like burning pyrotechnics, in level flight," Capt. Chris Baur told investigators. "I was trying to figure out what it was. It was the wrong color for flares. It struck an object coming from the right and made it explode." Two NY Air National Guard pilots with the best view of the crash of TWA 800 ....... one believes the airliner was struck by a fast-moving object coming from the east, while the other saw a fiery trail from the west. "I saw a track of light and saw a hard explosion, then another explosion," - "told officials, repeatedly that I thought a missile hit the plane."
- Bilodeau, Vincent Joseph McBride: Bilodeau and McBride state that on 7-17-96 at 2045 they were at the Moriches Inlet, South Shore, facing south to southeast. Bilodeau and McBride observed a reddish glowing flare ascend skyward from due East but they could not tell if from land or water. Flare was tight, corkscrew shape with even but fast speed. Did not see what flare struck but it exploded in air into a large orange fireball. Two large flaming chunks of debris fell from the fireball. Both recall hearing a deep thunderous rumble during the explosion. Saw fire on water a distance of 7 miles away. Also recall a light, low flying, single engine plane with a maroon stripe, low to beach about 15 minutes before explosion. (Suffolk NY Police Reports Case # 96-435598)
- Bushton, Douglas: The witness was playing basketball on the street with a neighbor. The witness was facing south when he saw a pink/salmon glow just above the water tower to the south. He described the object just like a red Roman candle. The object went behind the water tower and reappeared right below the tank where it exploded into an orange ball. No smoke observed. No noise was heard.
- Casola, Robert interviewed by Tom Stalcup on 1/28/98. He was on his boat with his engine running about 12 miles from the site of the accident. He noticed what he thought was a distress flare. He saw a smoke trail rising from the ocean, a small explosion, then a much larger explosion. He heard nothing over the noise of his motor.
- Caufield, Timothy: Caufield was sailing in Shinnecock Bay with two friends, heading toward the Southampton Yacht Club. While sitting in the front of the boat facing to the west, he saw a light in the sky that he thought was fireworks. In a second or two the light burst into a yellow/orange explosion that caught fire, breaking into two parts that fell into the ocean. He estimated this occurred about 10 miles to the southwest of him. (Suffolk NY Police Reports)
- Clanahan, Zach interviewed by Tom Stalcup 1/29/98. He was fishing in a boat while heading towards shore. While watching the lines, his friend said "hey, look at that!" He then looked to notice a plume connecting the ocean to an immediate explosion. Another friend of his who also saw the incident was present during this interview. His name is Danny Curro, and was fishing on a different boat. He saw the fiery blaze coming down from the sky and hitting the water. It left black smoke. When the black smoke went away, he saw white smoke. He also heard three loud explosions after witnessing the event. The week before the accident while surfing, Clanahan noticed a lot of Navy exercises in the area. He and the others on the boat called the FBI hotline and told them that they had witnessed the event. No FBI official visited. Then, his friend's father (also on the boat) called the FBI back and said that he thought he saw a missile hit the plane. The FBI showed up right away.
- Curreri, Anthony: He was sitting on the beach at the Bellport Dock at the South end of Station Road. Facing southeast towards Smith Point Bridge he saw“a red streak rise from the horizon.”Curreri said that he thought it“was fireworks being fired from Smith Point Beach over the ocean.”He said the streak“ascended at a slight angle to the right, very high then curved downward slightly and then leveled off and appeared to explode resulting in two similar objects falling down.”He thought that it might be two aircraft colliding. He estimated that the event occurred 3 miles offshore. The police noted that: “We took the witness to the Bellport dock and he visually placed the origin of the red streak in a line from the dock directly over the Pavilion at the Smith’s Point Beach. But the streak was beyond the Pavilion. When the debris fell, he felt that it was to the right of the Pavilion.”
- Desyron, Lou (ABC World News Sunday, 07/21/96):"We saw what appeared to be a flare going straight up. As a matter of fact, we thought it was from a boat. It was a bright reddish-orange color". Once it went into flames I knew that it wasn't a flare."
- Dougherty, Tom:"I looked up because it sounded like thunder. I kept looking trying to figure out what it was. And that's when I saw a flare come off the water." - "The flare, trailing orange flame, shot up roughly at a 45 degree angle, then rapidly increased it's angle of ascent.... Then it appeared to strike something."He saw the missile during most of its flight from Dune Road on Fire Island. He was interviewed by the FBI and the FOX TV program Hard Copy. Tom said thathe first heard two booms. Then he saw the missile shoot upwards, from the ocean, which was behind a sand dune in front of him. He saw it "shoot in another direction" briefly and then it corrected itself. He said that after the missile hit the plane, the plane glowed very bright as part of it fell and then, after becoming luminescent, it burst into flames. "This was the strangest thing I ever saw. Everyone calls it a 'missile theory,' but when you see something, you know what you see, and I didn't see a theory."Tom Dougherty: Interview by Cdr. Donaldson presented at the AIM conference October 18, 1997.I was in Docker's restaurant in Quogue ... I was leaving there and I was with two other people and as we were headed towards... south.. we were walking south towards the water. I heard what I thought to be thunder.. very loud thunder up in the sky and I looked up in the direction of where the thunder was coming from and I didn't see any clouds to indicate that there was any kind of thunder heads there. So I said you know that's strange to the friend of mine. So we continued a few more paces and I guess.. I don't know how many seconds later there was another thundering noise that I heard and I looked up again and I said that's very strange just to hear this when there was no thunder and no clouds of that type around. So I continued to look in that direction because of the noises that I heard and within a few more seconds I saw a red-orange flare go up which I thought was like a Guicci fireworks and I watched it go up away from me in a south-westerly direction towards West Hampton beach area and it .. what I was waiting for was the flare to reach its trajectory and to come down and explode like fireworks. And it didn't. What happened was it kept diminishing in size and then seemed to veer towards the east more and then it disappeared in the clouds or the fog area ... the haze .. and it was at that few .. a second later that I saw this 'glowing' in the sky and it looked like a UFO ... I was kidding around with my friends and I turned and I said look at that fireworks turned into a UFO. And then a few seconds later I saw something just... flop out of the sky with burning .. whatever it was.. and I watched and I said it's the strangest fireworks I've ever seen and a few moments later ....seconds later it was ..I can't keep track I heard another explosion and that's when I saw this big fire come out of the sky and it looked like the sun coming down actually. It was the size where I was standing maybe about the size of two half dollars together. So it was a good size .... sparks flying off it .. but I still didn't understand what kind of fireworks it was ....
- Eick, Donald: October 20, 1997 The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA. For Donald Eick and his family, the scene in the July 1996 summer sky is a permanent memory: a reddish flare-like object just off the water heading upward, zigzagging a little in an unmistakable vertical climb, a fireball erupting at the end of the ascent. The initial drama took no more than 12 to 15 seconds, Eick estimates. Then, the meteorologist, his wife and 12-year-old daughter saw three sections of aircraft "fluttering" toward the Atlantic Ocean. ...... Eick's description, previously given only to FBI investigators, is different than others because he says he and his family saw the plane separate: two parts in flame and one part seeming to arch upward before heading toward the Atlantic. All other published accounts, including reports from airline pilots in the air, tell only of seeing lights, explosions or fireballs, but not the fuselage. The Islip, N.Y., family was returning to Long Island's Great South Bay after a day of boating and swimming when Eick's daughter noticed the reddish light headed upward. Eick does his work as a meteorologist for TWA, but he says that his link with the airline has no bearing on what he saw. He also is a civilian pilot and has participated in accident investigations."It was what we would best describe as a boat flare, a reddish object going up,"Eick said."It went up and a few seconds later we saw an explosion in the sky. I can't say if it came off shore or on shore. At first, we thought it was a boat flare. It zigzagged a little. We thought it strange. "Then, several seconds later, we saw an eruption of fire. We never heard anything. We saw a fireball, and at that point we identified what was an aircraft. We could see it fluttering down. We were the third boat on Long Island to report the incident to the Coast Guard."Eick said the family clearly could see three sections of wreckage, one of which lofted upward a bit before heading downward. That piece did not catch fire, he said. ... "When I was interviewed by the FBI the next day, they were interested in the wreckage I saw go upward," Eick said. "I think it probably was the nose."A classified NTSB report based on an examination of the wreckage said the nose separated almost simultaneously with some unknown event that produced excess pressure in the center fuel tank and began its collapse. The nose then plummeted, without catching on fire, to an Atlantic site separate from the main fuselage. The report said the main part of the fuselage began a steep dive after the nose separated and the wing tips ripped off because of the intense strain, followed by the left wing and, sometime later, the right wing. Eick said it was "completely erroneous" to believe that the red flare he and his family saw was fuel or other descending plane debris."It was something going up to it beforehand," he said. "Yes, I saw flaming debris go down. Something attracted us to the area before it exploded. And even my wife and my oldest daughter, we all were witnesses to it. There definitely was something there first before the aircraft went down." The meteorologist estimated visibility at "about 20 miles and unrestricted."He said he and his family were about 10 miles from where TWA's wreckage rained into the ocean.
- Ellison, Brandi and John Gang: The ...witnesses were in a boat along with 5 other persons, on the Peconk Bay at the end of the (?) of the Harbor Cove Inn. Facing Westbound, witness #1 Ellison statesshe observed a flare shot upward, from the water, ascend with a bright orange-red glow skyward and at it's apex, burst into numerous red flames. Flare had a very large orange, red trail.Her boyfriend, witness #2 also watched the flare ascend and then descend into numerous red flames. Neither heard any noise. Witness #1 thought they were about 30 miles away. Witness #2 - 5 or 6 miles away.
- Evens, Edwin A.: Evens was on a boat off the Shinnecock Inlet with two other people. The boat was heading north toward the Inlet on a line from the one-mile sea buoy. They were about 1/4/ to 1/2 mile past the buoy toward the Inlet when Evens saw what he thought was a flare straight behind or slightly to the right of the boat to the southeast. Evens said that the flare had a“white wispy trail that went straight up.”He called to the other in the boat to look at the flare. He watched it for about 5 seconds when it suddenly turned into an orange burst. He then saw black smoke yet saw nothing fall into the ocean.
- Faret, Sven, Private Pilot - Airborne"Pin flash of light near the shore" - "It looked like a rocket launch at a fireworks display. My first impression was that the National Guard had shot down one of their own planes."
- Fehner, Victor, interviewed by Tom Stalcup on 1/28/98. He noticed a "small ball [in the sky that] started out as a parachute flare." He said it was approximately 30 degrees above the horizon. He then said it quickly went from 30 degrees to about 15 degrees where it ended in an explosion, which blew off into two balls of fire. He was located in front of the Coast Guard Station.
- Gallagher, William: October 20, 1997 The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA. William Gallagher, a commercial fisherman, had just finished trolling for squid when he saw a reddish light in the sky."I picked it up three seconds before it turned into a bright white ball, which split," Gallagher said. "I thought it was fireworks. And then I didn't know what to think because from the white ball, I saw two wide orange bands of light fall down, obviously the fuel igniting."It was TWA Flight 800. When he returned to port, he called the FBI."I'll lay my ass on the table and tell the president or the FBI, and someone can hypnotize me: There was no way that red light was descending," Gallagher said. "It was ascending. It made contact with what turned out to be that airplane and made a white bright light and then split in two."He thinks something is wrong with the investigation. "If I were in a courtroom and the prosecutor says I've got an eyewitness, then I become a trump card," he said. "We're not just one witness but 135 or more strong." Officials say more than 400 eyewitnesses were interviewed, many reporting a red flare-like or fireworks-like object ascending toward the plane. "I saw something hit the right side of the plane," said Gallagher. "My opinion was it blew the wing off on impact. I assumed something went through the airplane, like behind first class and into the wing." Gallagher, of New Jersey, has worked the ocean waters near the crash for more than 15 years. "My honest opinion, my gut feeling, is that we have the most brilliant people in the world and the best technology," Gallagher said. "If they've been on scene for a year and they've not come up with something, as a critical thinker I have to ask, could they be covering up something?" FBI and NTSB officials bristle at such comments and say they are meticulously searching for clues among more than 300,000 pounds of debris, with another 15,000 to 25,000 pounds missing and deemed unrecoverable.
- Gipe, Albert: A self employed Consultant, Engineer and Ex-Naval Officer, was transiting 25 nautical miles offshore aboard a sailboat in passage to Block Island. He was standing in the boat ladder well facing Long Island, attempting to place a cell phone call. Mr. Gipe sawa streak of light like a “tracer bullet” rise from the surface going from South (seaward) to North (landward) on a 30° to 45° elevation, which terminated six seconds later in an explosion that was followed shortly thereafter by another explosion.Mr. Gipe immediately wrote down his position and what he observed. Mr. Gipe was 17 nautical miles, or 34,000 yards, from TWA FL800 when it exploded. Because the witness’s location was ahead of TWA FL800’s course, with little angle off and because 1° degree of ARC is over 1,800 ft of sky on the horizon at a 17 nautical mile range, TWA FL800’s apparent relative motion while in flight would appear almost stationary to Mr. Gipe. Mr. Gipe’s recorded observations fit precisely to a short-range successful surface to air engagement of TWA FL800 with a large anti-aircraft missile fired from the immediate vicinity of the 30-knot radar contact.
- Goss, Richard: Interview by Cdr. Donaldson presented at the AIM conference October 18, 1997."That evening I was just finishing up a sunfish race at West Hampton Yachts club .. it was a Wednesday night .. and that particularly night every week we have an informal sunfish race and then it's followed by a 'bring your own' barbecue dinner on the back porch of the yacht club. That porch faces south and my position at the table that I was sitting at I was looking right out at Moriches Bay and you know just leaning back, resting, just enjoying the moment of that part of the evening. It was near dusk and it was then that I saw a flare-type object go up and feeling that oh someone along Dune Road has fireworks and other members of the club saw it also and said hey look at the fireworks. And everybody turned to look and we all watched it climb and I particularly watched it and it was bright, very bright, and you know that almost bright pink you know and orange glow around it and it traveled up and it look to go straight up from the area that I was observing it and then it reached it's peak and it seemed to go away in the distance towards the south and that's when I saw it veer left which would bring it out east. It was a sharp left and then it did not disappear. From my vantage point there was a direct explosion that followed and then after that there was a second explosion that was off to the east a little farther that was much larger .. it was like something broke off of whatever that was and caught on fire. The smoke was black, it was obviously some petroleum. I knew it was an airplane or aircraft of some sort and I didn't realize what size it was. And then it took some time to come down, probably three or four seconds and there was just a stream of black and white smoke and then when it hit the horizon over the barrier beach, Dune Road, and when it hit the horizon there was a bright flash."
- Graham, Douglas interviewed by Tom Stalcup on 1/27/98. Graham's first impression was that the event was a terrorist attack, but after going over the event in his head later, he did not recall seeing an object rise from the ocean. But his daughter sawan object rise from the ocean..
- Grauer, Richard: (25 yr. old Fishing Tackle sales)"It was a thin trail of smoke going up fast - then there was this huge pink ball of fire"
- Greig, Margaret: Margaret Greig was sitting on the Smith Point Beach slightly to the west of the bath house facing southeast when she sawa “flare” shoot upwards from the ocean. The flare went “upwards in a concave arc.” The flare “had a pink flame at first which turned into an orange flame” about a quarter of the way up. A thin trail of black smoke followed behind flare. The flare shot upward for about 5 seconds and then turned into a large ball of orange fire. The black-smoke trail lingered afterwards for about 6 minutes. She estimated that the flare was about one mile out to sea.The witness did not see anything fall into the ocean after the orange explosion. (Suffolk NY Police Reports)
- Keyser, John and Joyce Keyser: While driving southerly on Church, Mrs. Keyser relates observing, while looking southerly, a golden glowing, moving object above the tree top line. The unusual golden color of the elongated object drew Mrs. Keyser's attention. Mrs. Keyser noticed a red light on it and though 15 to 20 miles away she assumed it to be a plane. Mrs. Keyser states suddenly the plane took an unusual, 45-degree dive with no visible flame or smoke below the tree top line. A large, reddish flaming fireball immediately arose above the tree line where the plane had descended. The entire observation was approximately 90 seconds in duration. No observation of any object or projectile from the ground to the plane was witnessed. Mr. Keyser drew a picture of explosion. (Suffolk NY Police Reports Case # 96-435598)
- Khalilch, Rosa Gray, Smith's Point Beach: Reports being on the beach Wed. July 17, 96 between 8:30 and 8:45 when the Grays saw.. double orange flares streak upward and explode into a large orange fireball. The flares were slanted arcing and trailed by a grey smoke.Gray also reports a strong odor of diesel fuel and the sighting was southeast of Smith's Point Beach. (Suffolk NY Police Reports Case # 96-435598)
- Kinscherf, Susan:"I looked to the ocean and I saw a ball in the sky that looked like a red glow. It went up and there was an explosion .... then it just fell from the sky".
- Krieger, Heidi:"I think it's a missile of friendly fire or something like that".Krieger was out on her boat in the Great South Bay snapping pictures of her father, on his boat, with a disposable camera andcaught the image of a squiggly white line in the background of one photo. The FBI took it and the negatives.
- Lenahan, Frank and Mrs. Lenahan Hampton Bay: Were sitting on their outside deck, second story and Frank Lenahan sawtwo red streaks, very vivid in color ascend from what appeared to be Dune Rd. about two miles away. He bought this to the attention of his wife who was turned, and she saw one streak go west to east, straight across the horizon just above the dune line. They didn't follow the streak(s) all the way up as they assumed it was fireworks. Mrs. Lenahan heard what she thought was thunder followed by a second (sound) which she described as a Concorde Jet, followed by a very large thump which they felt. She knew something wasn't right and she looked at her watch and it was 8:30.(Suffolk NY Police Reports Case # 96-435598)
- Levine, Naneen said"The little red dot went up like this [witness draws trajectory] it sort of curved, it came to just a point where I thought little fireworks were going to come down and it would just fade and be a flare. It looked like a dot, it didn't look like a fiery streak, and it looked like a little red dot that went up. It didn't leave a tail or anything behind, just a little dot. Like I thought it was something on the beach going straight up".
- McClaine, David: October 20, 1997. The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, CA. Eastwind Airlines pilot David McClaine's aerial view of the Flight 800 fireball made him the person to transmit the first known message of the tragedy to authorities. McClaine, piloting a Boeing 737 jetliner, had just leveled off at 17,000 feet on the plane's commuter run from Boston to Trenton, N.J.He had been watching a strange yellow light gradually ascend from the direction of Kennedy Airport. The light was different, he said, not the bright white light that jetliners' landing lights give off. McClaine said he had never seen a similar light in his 30 years as a military and commercial pilot. He thought it might be flames but heard no radio traffic, saw no smoke and decided it wasn't fire. The object moved up past 10,000 feet, where pilots normally turn off the lights they use as aerial warning beacons, but this one kept burning. He fixed his gaze on it for more than a minute, he said, and decided it was time to flick on his landing lights because his 737 would pass to the object's left. Before he could reach the switch, the yellowish light exploded into a ball of flames. "It blew up, just one big explosion,"McClaine said. No more than a second later, two streamers came out of the bottom, flames trailing about 4,000 feet, he estimated. He did not actually see TWA 800's fuselage; smoke and flames trailing the plane blotted out the aircraft's debris as it fell 2 miles to the ocean. The yellowish light remains a puzzle. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require white landing lights and airliners have two main lights, not one. TWA's Boeing 747 landing lights are "a very bright, bright, white light," a company spokesman said. Beaver, Jane's missile expert, said a minute would be an exceptionally long burn for a surface-to-air missile but a drone's propulsion system lasts much longer. The BQM-34 "Firebee" drone, for instance, has a range of 700 miles and can stay aloft for about an hour at full speed. Others have longer ranges and flying times. McClaine immediately called Boston air traffic control with news of the in-flight explosion but got no response. He repeated the call twice more. A Boston controller told pilots to stand by for a roll call and orally ticked off the known aircraft. "They called TWA 800 twice," McClaine recalled. "I said, `Boston, I think that's them'. And they said, `That's right.'" He said he thought at the moment that some "on-board incident," possibly a bomb, blew the plane apart, an opinion he still holds. He said he had not changed his original conclusion because he could not say the yellow light was a missile or drone. The incident held a special footnote for McClaine. As a youngster, he took the TWA flight often while traveling between the United States and Saudi Arabia where his dad worked for the Arab American Oil Co. FBI investigators talked to him a few days after the disaster but he hasn't been contacted since, he said earlier this month. He was initially asked if he saw anything like the trail of a missile headed toward the plane but said he didn't. David McClaine: Eastwind 507 Pilot 8:37:11 Boston: Well, I want to confirm that you saw the splash in the water. 8:37:20 Eastwind 507: Yes, sir. It just blew up in the air, and then we saw two fireballs go down to the water. ... There seemed to be a light.... I thought it was a landing light, ... and it was coming right at us at .. about ... I don't know .. about 15,000 feet or something like that, and I pushed my landing lights, ah, you know, so I saw him, and then it blew. 8:37:40 Boston: Roger that, sir, that was a 747 out there you had a visual on that. Anything else in the area when it happened? 8:37:47 Eastwind 507: I didn't see anything. He seemed to be (alone?). I thought he had a landing light on ... maybe it was a fire ... I don't know.
- Meyer, Fred: Meyer's attention was first called to the area ...."by a streak of light moving from my right (west) to my left (east)," the same direction as the TWA flight, he said.....Baur, on the left side of the cockpit, saw a streak moving from left to right toward the approaching TWA aircraft before the initial explosion. The streak of light that Meyer saw .....was red-orange in color .....there was what Meyer describes as a hard, very sudden, yellowish-white explosion that looked identical to the detonation of an anti-aircraft shell ....."It left a cloud of smoke just like a flak explosion does,"Meyer said."One to two seconds later, there was a second, hard explosion almost pure white in color ... almost immediately there was a third explosion and fireball"....Baur also saw three explosions ...he contends that they started from left (east) and went to the right (west).... The call sign that night for Baur and Meyer was Jolly 14. The helicopter (a HH-60G Pave Hawk) was descending through 200 feet above the airport when Baur's eye was caught by some sort of light. According to the crew, Baur called out over the intercom to his flight engineer, MSgt. Dennis Richardson,"Hey Denny, is that pyro?"Within seconds he saw a hard explosion. Richardson, shifting in his seat from behind Baur, did not see the streak but did see the explosions.
- Meyer, Fredric C:"I know what I saw. I saw an ordnance explosion. And whatever I saw, the explosion of the fuel was not the initiator of the event. It was one of the results. Something happened before that which was the initiator of the disaster."- Frederick C. Meyer, An Air National Guard helicopter pilot who witnessed the explosion of TWA Flight 800; 7/29/97; Riverside Press.
- Miron, Darou J. and Mrs. Miron: Witness states that he and his wife were camping at Smith's Point Beach and while walking southerly near dump station by front office he noticeda white streak moving skyward from southeast of his location. He could not tell how far away or did not observe where the streak originated from ground or water. The streak burst into yellow sparks after a riff of smoke then orange flames descended to water in two orange ( ? ).Witness states he observed the lights of a ship or boat in the area of incident the night before but were indistinguishable with binoculars. Craft seemed to remain stationary for a long period of time. (Suffolk NY Police Reports Case # 96-435598)
- Weiss, Philip:"It's (the CIA) message to the eyewitnesses: Shut up, you didn't see anything."- - The New York Observer - November 24, 1997
- Moorer, Adm. Thomas:"All evidence would point to a missile. All those witnesses who saw a streak that hit the airplane...you have to assume it's a missile. In an investigation like this, you can't overlook anything."- Adm. Thomas Moorer, former Chairman of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff; Louisville Courier-Journal, 1-9-98
- Naples, Jim: Naples, Jim at helm small pleasure craft - Wife, Roseann - Daughters, Kathleen and Charlene - Total - 4 witnesses"All of a sudden my wife goes, 'Look' and we look. We see this flare. "We know what we saw. We weren't drunk. I looked up and my immediate response was, I never saw an alert flare like that. It was projecting upward with a stream of smoke behind. I don't think our accounts will be reflected in the final version [of the FBI report]. I have a hard time believing that the FBI believes its conclusions. I don't believe that the truth is ever going to come out."- Jim Naples, Flight 800 eye-witness; November 24, 1997, The New York Observer, (p.16)
- Osborn, Carolyn:"CIA analysts have determined that the eyewitness sightings thought to be that of a missile actually took place after the first of several explosions on the aircraft. Our technical analysis concludes that what these eyewitnesses saw was in fact the burning [Boeing] 747 in various stages of crippled flight, not a missile."- CIA spokeswoman Carolyn Osborn - September 24, 1997
- Marcone, Paul:"She [Ms. Osborn] said they were mistaken in what they saw. That's not very professional, and it's not the way to dispute eyewitness statements. Those witness statements should be part of the public record. And they [the FBI] have to come up with a credible scenario of why the eyewitnesses saw what they saw."- Paul Marcone - Press Secretary to Rep. James Traficant - House Aviation Subcommittee
- Patrick, Bill: Posting an E-mail on September 19, 1997."I was First Officer on TWA 900 and took off 2 minutes behind 800, following essentially the same flight path. We were at 19,000' and approx. 10 miles in trail of 800 when it exploded although we could not see it. In flight visibility at our altitude was fairly poor due to haze and approaching dusk. The conditions at all altitudes were hazy but much better lower. I can not comment on surface visibility at the crash scene but I would be surprised if the actual aircraft was visible from the surface prior to the explosion. Once the a/c exploded it would certainly be visible. I know personally of one eyewitness that was fishing off the coast and saw a "flare" go up from a surface vessel on the horizon and was followed by the explosion overhead moments later. He then guided his boat to the wreckage of 800 and never saw the surface vessel again. He could not describe any details except to say that it was about 10 miles away"
- Penney, Roland: Interview by Cdr. Donaldson presented at the AIM conference October 18, 1997. They said"Are you sure you didn't see something going down ...and not going up"? ...... I said "No.... Gosh sakes I ain't that stupid, I ought to be able to tell if something is going up in the air or going down in the air .... No and I said I'm not changing my mind about it ... I'll stick to that until I die. I said I saw something going up and I said there was no question in my mind. I said I'm telling you what I saw. I'm not telling you what I think I saw. I said I saw something and..... that's the way I am stating it. I'm not trying to make up a story just to be on the news or whatever... I said I have no desire to be on the news - I don't even want to get involved in this stuff anymore. But I said there was definitely something going up and then it went behind ... I said I'm assuming it's a cloud and then we saw this white light. Donaldson: OK. And when we were off .. when the recording was off ... you mentioned that a neighbor ... we won't mention the name .. but had a similar experience apparently with an FBI interview that they were trying to get her to say that it was going the other way...Penney: That's right Donaldson: And she talked to you on the phone and got a little bit ....Penney: She was upset because she says I'm a grown woman - I don't drink and she says it wasn't because I had alcohol in me. She says I saw something definitely going up and there is no question in my mind about that and she says I'm not changing my mind either."
- Perry, Lisa - Dan's Papers, Long Island, May 15, 1998"I saw the missile. I was facing eastward, toward the Hamptons, the ocean on my right, the deck of the house on my left. The deck is about 22 feet above the beach. On a clear day, as you look straight down the beach along the line of the shore, you can see the parking lot at Smith's Point Beach, 12 miles away. There was a plane in the sky ... out from the left, from the North, something was moving North to South over the dunes ... from the direction of the Great South Bay. The object came over the dunes of Fire Island. It was shiny, like a new dime; it looked like a plane without wings. It had no windows... It was as if there was a flame at the back of it, like a Bunsen burner .... It was like a silver bullet ... It was moving much faster than the plane. The silver object took a left turn, and went up to the plane. The plane stopped for an instant, as something would when it had suffered an impact, not just an explosion. Then it began to fracture - as if you had slammed a frozen candy bar down onto a table. You could see the spaces in between the parts of the plane. Then a moment later there was another explosion and the plane broke jaggedly in the sky. It was sideways to the way it had been ... there is smoke, fire .. the plane starts to fall apart in the sky ... the nose is continuing to go forward: the left wing is gliding off in its own direction, drifting in an arc gracefully down; the right wing and passenger window are doing the same in their direction out to the right; and the tail with its fireball leaps up and then promptly into the water below. The sounds were a huge BOOM! - then another BOOM! There was a huge rumbling rolling in the sky…. I told the FBI the nose of the plane had come off; and I told them this before the Navy pulled it out of the water. (Mrs. Perry was interviewed by the FBI )- The two agents were very supportive; I was very comfortable with them .. I got the impression that they themselves thought a missile had hit the plane. After the (NTSB) hearings I spoke with one of the agents, who told me the FBI had concluded I was too far from the accident to see what I had seen. (Speaking of the CIA video) It wasn't like that at all. They said most people turned to the sound and then saw something. I was already looking at the event, before any explosion. Having asked for a copy of her testimony to the FBI she was told to file a FOI request. I knew what I was seeing was a plane breaking apart with people in it. It still haunts me how it continued to be in the air not quite flying but not exploded apart. I'm heartbroken for the families of all those people who were on that plane."
- Runyan, Paul told the N.Y. Daily News, 11/09/96:"It looked like a big skyrocket going up". [The flash looked] "like a rocket launch at a fireworks display".
- Stratemeier, Colonel: - Pilot"said he had seen what appeared to be the trail of a shoulder fired SAM ending in a flash on the 747"
- Terney, Phyllis: Terney stated thatshe was in her boat proceeding southerly while entering Mt. Sinai Harbor on the north shore of Long Island. About 2030 to 2035 hours on the date of the incident she observed what she thought was an orange flare rise just above the tree tops to the south, southeast of her location.She estimated the orange explosion to be approximately 20 miles to the south of her location and thought a house exploded. (Suffolk NY Police Reports Case # 96-435598)
- Verardi, Carlo: Stated thathe was driving his van on Route 27 through the center of Moriches and directly to his left he saw a gray smoke trail traveling at a high rate of speed and where the trail terminated an explosion occurred. He designated it was going straight up not zig zag and was visible for a time after the explosion. From the time he spotted trail to time of explosion he guessed 37 seconds. Trail of smoke 5 miles to the south.
- Walsh, D.A:"It is No rumor about sabotage or a missile. Having lived on Long Island for 24 years and only 8 miles from the crash site I am familiar with the area and too many of us saw what happened that night. I believe that someone is trying to cover up for mistakes."
- Wendall, Ken, Sven Faret's Passenger:"My first impression was that the National Guard had shot down one of their own planes."
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