But I remember most people initially thought it was a missle that downed Flight 800, especially when eyewitnesses reprted seeing something that resembled a missle hit the plane. These eyewitness reports were eventually squashed by the idea that it was actually an optical illusion these people were seeing. "Experts" said that the people actually saw the aftermath of the explosion, and fireballs shooting out of the plane somehow just looked like they were heading towards the plane for a reason I've never grasped.
The official conclusion by the NTSB was that the explosion was caused a by a spark in the fuel tank.
Now, ten years later, a group in Massachussets has filed a lawsuit to force federal officials to release information about a piece of debris from Flight 800 that it hopes will show that a missile downed the plane.
Tom Stalcup, who heads the East Falmouth, Mass.-based Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, which filed the suit, said he is "very certain" that federal investigators found the piece of debris and are now concealing evidence of its existence.
Radar data show the piece of debris falling at high speed from the plane and a Navy salvage map shows it was later recovered, said Stalcup, 36, a physicist and owner of a West Falmouth, Mass., company that makes wireless weather stations. Despite this evidence, federal officials won't explain what happened to the debris once it was recovered from the ocean off Long Island, he said.
"All of the data requested is of great importance to the public understanding of the crash of TWA Flight 800," Stalcup's lawsuit says.
"One piece in particular landed closer to JFK Airport than any of the other thousands of recovered items ... after exiting the airframe at apparent supersonic speeds," the suit says.
We'll have to stay tuned to this one...