Missile Theory in Twa Crash Is Popular, If Not Very Likely

Article excerpt

Conspiracy buffs love to theorize about cover-ups, and the idea that a missile - from a hand-held launcher, a Navy ship or a National Guard helicopter - brought down TWA Flight 800 is irresistible.

Investigators refuse to rule out the theory, despite calling it far-fetched, remote or no more than marginally possible. So it grows and flourishes, spread through the Internet, the airline-employee grapevine and even fliers on utility poles in Brooklyn.

The theory won't die as long as the FBI continues to give missiles equal billing with a bomb and mechanical failure in its trio of possible causes for the crash. Among 1,800 interviews conducted by the FBI, about 50 people described light streaks or other oddities suggesting a missile hit the Boeing 747. While analysis of radar tapes showed nothing to back this up, the reports cannot be dismissed, FBI investigator James Kallstrom said. One persistent rumor is that a U.S. warship or aircraft downed the jet with an errant missile and the government is covering it up. The investigation has not turned up anything to support this, said Rear Adm. Edward Kristensen, head of the Navy salvage operation off Long Island. Other versions of the conspiracy theories involve a nugget of truth, but don't stand up. …

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