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Boeing 747 center wing fuel tank.
Boeing 747 center wing fuel tank.


1) Inability to explain a variety of features in the wreckage, including the localized recrystallization of metal (high explosives indicator) at the rear of the center wing tank.

FACT: The center wing tank (CWT) of TWA Flight 800 contained damage that "was not explained in the breakup sequence."[6] Exploding fuel vapors, an onboard fire, ocean impact, nor any other segment of the official crash sequence could be ascribed to the "localized recrystallization"[6] of aluminum found at the rear of the CWT.

FACT: Former NTSB Director of Aviation Safety Dr. Bernard Loeb stated that the NTSB did not rule out a missile as the cause of this damage.[9] However, the NTSB's final report makes no reference to any detailed analysis of this wreckage by missile damage experts. The "TWA Flight 800 Missile Impact Analysis" (available in the NTSB docket) is the only report published by such experts, but was "not a detailed scientific analyses" and did not mention the recrystallization[9].

FACT: The Missile Impact report states that a large, proximity-fused missile would have created "only occasional high- and low-velocity fragment penetrations."[9]

FACT: Multiple penetrations directed into the CWT were discovered that contained "both lower velocity...and higher velocity" characteristics.[11]

FACT: Dr. Loeb stated that even one such penetration would have contained "more than enough energy to ignite the [CWT] fumes."[10]

ASSESSMENT: NTSB investigators have little or no experience identifying missile damage, and the recrystallization of the rear spar was apparently never fully tested by missile damage experts. Appropriate experts should immediately analyze any and all evidence that "was not explained in the breakup sequence"[6] or that contains characteristics indicative of missile fragment penetrations.


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