New evidence from radar data and analysis on the crash of TWA Flight 800 is “as convincing as a fingerprint in a murder case” that a missile brought down the plane, according to an independent investigator.
Radar images only recently available and analyzed by Ret. Naval Cmdr. William Donaldson show what he describes as a plume of metal debris coming from the right side of TWA flight 800 at a very high rate of speed.
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Exclusive graphic shows new evidence of missile. The green numbered dots show pieces of metal traveling away from TWA flight 800 at high speed. The numbers begin with the first radar sweep after the transponder failed. Sweep 1 shows a piece of the plane. Sweep 2 shows two pieces of metal at a point about 7 seconds after impact. The farthest number 2 blip is thought to be the remains of the missile 3,200 feet from the impact point in just 7 seconds. Sweep 4 most likely shows the same piece of metal from sweep 1, according to Cmdr. William Donaldson.
“Only a missile body, with its hundreds of thousands of foot pounds of kinetic energy would have the inertia to perform this way on radar,” Donaldson told Rep. John Duncan, R- Tenn., in a recent report to the Subcommittee on Aviation.
Donaldson claims the evidence is now irrefutable that a missile is responsible for the downing of TWA flight 800. He also claims that the FBI, CIA, and the National Transportation Safety Board have known about this evidence from the beginning.
Donaldson received help with the analysis of the recently acquired radar data from a member of the U.S. Air Force weapons guidance systems division. That source, who asked to remain anonymous because of fears of reprisals from Air Force officials, agrees with the conclusions of Donaldson.
Radar sends a signal out which is reflected off any object it hits and comes back. Each sweep of the radar creates a new echo, or image on the screen. The time between sweeps is 4.69 seconds, according to Donaldson.
“The one thing that you’re going to focus in on tightly when you look at the radar is the sweep after the initial breakup of the aircraft. If it’s hit by a weapon, you’re going to have metal pieces going in the direction that the weapon hit the airplane. No matter if it’s an anti-aircraft shell or a missile,” explained Donaldson.
In the event of a missile strike to a large commercial aircraft, the extremely high speed of the missile would carry the warhead right through the plane “almost like it’s not even there,” said the Air Force source.
“I can’t over emphasize this point. This is not theory, not speculation, but hard physical evidence,” Donaldson told Duncan, who has not yet replied and could not be reached over the weekend.
TWA flight 800 crashed off Long Island, New York July 17, 1996 and the investigation has been one of controversy ever since. The FBI and National Transportation Safety Board have ruled out the possibility of a missile or bomb as the cause of the crash, but Donaldson insists they are ignoring or covering up the facts.
Donaldson is the chairman of the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals, formed in early 1997. Its members are former military, civilian, and aviation professionals who organized to independently investigate the downing of TWA Flight 800. Donaldson has many years of aviation and investigation experience, as do many of the members of his organization.
WorldNetDaily learned the FBI had been given preliminary information immediately after TWA flight 800 went down from the same Air Force office. Even at that time, the Air Force advised the FBI to look for missile debris on radar. They even told the FBI where to look in the water for the debris.
“They (the Air Force) told the FBI that in order to find the missile body, you go to the radar and you look at the first sweep where you see the aircraft in trouble. If there’s anything displaced laterally, take a look and get the ballistic line of that and when you search for the missile body it’s going to be on that line when it hits the water,” Donaldson explained.
The Air Force told the FBI that the missile body would be in the water between 1 and 3 kilometers beyond the track of the aircraft, if it were a shoulder-fired weapon, according to the Air Force officer.
“What you’re describing is exactly what we told the FBI,” he said. He didn’t think the FBI agents recognized the importance of what was told them at the time because they didn’t appear to show any interest in looking for a missile.
WorldNetDaily previously reported the discovery of secret FBI documents that revealed a search was made for missile parts. The captain of a scallop trawler used in the search operation made known that a part was found and the FBI very abruptly called off the secret search.
A number of private boats were used with FBI agents on board. Each captain was given a document describing items the FBI was looking for. A copy of the document was made available to WorldNetDaily. The items on the list were parts from a small surface to air missile that can be fired from a shoulder launch device.
The FBI has refused to comment on the document.
The radar data not only seems to verify Donaldson’s theory, but it also supports accusations of a deliberate cover-up of the facts. Donaldson will present his evidence today at a press conference at the Surveillance Expo in Crystal City, Va.
“To me that’s as good as any fingerprint would ever be in any kind of a mystery case. That takes away any doubt. It is (an) extremely high probability that is the actual missile body. I mean, how do you get a piece of metal to go that far — half a nautical mile — in seven seconds? There is no way. You’re not going to get that amount of displacement in that amount of time (unless it is a missile),” described Donaldson in a phone interview from his home over the weekend.
Donaldson believes that just after the final transponder signal from TWA Flight 800 was received, the plane was hit by a missile. The loss of a transponder signal indicates that the plane lost power. The next radar contact shows debris to the side of the plane, which Donaldson claims is an indication that a high velocity projectile went right through the plane at that point.
Each sweep of the radar shows a radar echo for that moment only. There are 4.69 seconds between sweeps. Each radar contact upon successive sweeps shows the debris rapidly moving away from the side of the plane at a very high velocity.
Although the missile does not appear on the radar prior to hitting the plane, Donaldson said that is not unusual. It travels so fast that there were only one or two radar sweeps before it hit, and a missile is configured in such a way that it does not reflect radar very well. The jagged pieces of the missile exiting the plane are better radar reflectors and would show up more easily, according to Donaldson.
Some of the parts were blown as far as 3,200-ft. by the second sweep, in less than 9.4 seconds but more than 4.69 seconds. By measuring the course of the ejected material and back tracking to its intersection with the aircraft’s track, the time of the explosive event can be calculated. The missile debris exited the plane and covered 3,200 ft. in 7 seconds, according to Donaldson.
“It’s just like a murder detective in a shooting in an apartment. He’ll stick a pencil in the bullet holes in the wall to see the angle the bullet entered the wall. You do the same thing here and it’s pointing right back at a boat that was in range of a shoulder fired missile,” said Donaldson.
“There’s just no way that metal could be where it shows up unless it was hit by a missile,” he added.
The radar blip showing a “suspicious boat” raises an important question about the possibility of a deliberate attempt by the FBI to cover up evidence, according to Donaldson.
The FBI provided a written report to Congress in which it claimed that all boats on the surface of the water had been identified except for one which was 2.9 nautical miles to the southeast of the plane. That would imply the FBI knows the identification of the “suspicious boat,” because it was located 2.9 nautical miles to the northeast.
“If that statement is true, the FBI is guilty of withholding the existence and the identity of critical material witnesses from the interested parties, the Congress, and the people,” accused Donaldson.
He also accused the FBI of discrediting nearly 100 witnesses who claimed to see a flare streak through the sky and hit TWA Flight 800. The FBI says those witnesses are all in error and what they really saw was the plane explode and come crashing down.
The FBI claims there were no witnesses closer than 10 nautical miles, but one witness was in the air less than 5 miles away, and Donaldson has interviewed 8 witnesses who were within 8 nautical miles.
“Navy Chief Petty Officer Dwight Brumley was on U.S. Air Flight 217 seated in seat 5F at the window on the right side of the aircraft. He saw a streak of light overtaking his aircraft from right to left. As he lost sight of the streak underneath his aircraft he saw a large fireball emerge from underneath his aircraft going from his left to his right. He then lost sight of the fireball as it disappeared underneath the right wing.
“This witness disproves the CIA and NTSB theory that the streak seen by eyewitnesses was the aircraft climbing and burning after an initial explosion. He clearly saw a streak coming from his right to left and TWA Flight 800 was coming from his left to his right,” explained Donaldson.
Witnesses are not the only ones who have been discredited, according to Donaldson. Boeing, the maker of the plane, refuses to give in to demands from the NTSB to declare their own plane as being defective.
Boeing, the nation’s second-largest defense contractor, recently filed court documents in a case involving some family members of passengers on TWA Flight 800.
“That the NTSB in over three years of exhaustive investigation has been unable to identify any potential ignition source aboard the aircraft suggests that an external source caused the explosion. Unless and until such time as a cause is determined, ignition sources external to the aircraft — of any type — cannot be ruled out,” said Boeing in the statement.
Boeing does not go so far as to claim a missile brought down the plane, but they refused to rule out the possibility. The NTSB has tried to blame the accident on a mechanical defect for which Boeing may be held responsible.
The NTSB has promised to wrap up the more than three-year investigation and release a full report on their findings early in 2000. The NTSB has consistently dismissed claims by Donaldson and others. An NTSB spokesman previously told WorldNetDaily that Donaldson has no credibility. An NTSB spokesman was not available over the weekend for a comment on the most recent claims by Donaldson.