|Friday August 4 5:22 AM ET
Skeptics Sue For TWA 800 Details
By JEFF DONN, Associated Press Writer
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A group of skeptics is suing the government for details of its inquiry into the TWA Flight 800 crash four years ago, including radar data and details of material found with some of the victims' bodies.
The Freedom of Information Act lawsuits are the latest challenge of the government's version of the crash. Theories of a cover-up and speculation about an accidental missile firing by the U.S. Navy have persisted since the crash on July 17, 1996.
``A missile is the only object I know of that fits the characteristics that the eyewitnesses saw,'' said Tom Stalcup, chairman of a group of independent researchers studying the crash.
The group, known as the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization, sued in U.S. District Court in Springfield July 17. The group includes experts from the world of aviation and engineering.
The jetliner, which took off in New York, blew apart off Long Island, N.Y., killing all 230 people on board.
Officials of the National Transportation Safety Board said there has been no evidence of a missile.
They say fuel vapors ignited and set off the blast inside a fuel tank. They have looked into whether a spark from electrical wiring or heat, possibly from nearby air conditioners, could have ignited the vapors.
Paul Schlamm, a spokesman for the safety agency, said Thursday that any conclusion would be announced at the five-member safety panel's last meeting on the crash. It is set for Aug. 22-23.
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National Transportation Safety Board: http://www.ntsb.gov