Twa-800 Downing

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TWA-800 Downing

TWA-800 Downing


TWA flight 800 crashed on July 17, 1996, resulting in death of all 230 people who were on board. The reporter Pat Milton, among many other writers attempted to dig out the details of investigation and struggled to bring to light that how was the investigation process carried out by FBI. This essay discusses that whether the crash was a result of bomb, missile, or friendly fire. For finding out the facts about the tragedy, the book written by Pat Milton and internet sources are used.


The book summarizes the facts about the TWA 800 crash investigation quite accurately (Milton, 1999). The most disturbing fact associated with the crash is the commercial jets do not generally fall from the sky without any reason. Thus, there must be some criminal or terrorist activity behind the scene; the responsibility for investigating the crash was assigned to the two well known investigation teams, FBI and NTSB. Initially, the head of FBI team believed that the crash was a result of some crime or terrorist activity; the teams conducted the investigation process for two years.

According to the initial considerations, the two investigation teams started parallel criminal investigation, immediately after the crash took place. The direction seemed to be right by FBI, NTSB, and government as well as the public, because if some tragedy had occurred under the similar circumstances, the probability of sabotage was considerable. However, it was extremely difficult to find out the actual cause among many such as bombs, engine fuse and fuel vapors. Although the investigation process started quite early in time, the period of two years for which the investigation lasted was full of disagreements between the investigation team members, delays in finding and analyzing observations, and dramas. In addition to the problems caused by the investigation team, the politicians also tried to interfere and direct the investigation process according to their desires. Also, NTSB and FBI kept fighting over the evidence handling.

The problems in the investigation process began to cause with the start of the process. Although, the process was officially “parallel”, yet every piece of evidence had to first pass through FBI team before it could reach to the NTSB hands. There was a significant communication gap between the investigations teams of FBI and NTSB. At one point, the FBI agent was left behind the NTSB person at the dock while they were going to ...