Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Summary of Eyewitness Hearing - By Ray Lahr

Yesterday we had a fine hearing for the TWA 800 eyewitnesses at the Wyndham Wind Watch Hotel on Long Island. This beautiful hotel is located midway on Long Island approximately abeam of the place where TWA800 went down. This date marks approximately the fifth anniversary of the tragic event. 

We had eight of the best eyewitnesses there to testify.  They were Suzanne McConnell, Roland Penney, Major Fred Meyer, Dwight Brumbley, Michael Wire, Daryl Myron, Bill Gallegar, and Lisa Perry.  It was a privilege to meet these people.  They are a group of patriotic Americans who feel it is their duty to set the record straight about what they saw.  It is at great personal sacrifice that they give of their time and energy in the face of criticism by the FBI, CIA, and NTSB.  Their only reward is the knowledge that they are advancing the truth for their fellow citizens.  

We also had several representatives from the media in attendance. Shortly after the accident, there was great interest in eyewitness accounts by the media in general.  However, the major newspapers and networks quickly backed off and picked up the party line of the government agencies.  The government agencies abolished any serious consideration of a missile (or missiles) and discredited any accounts or evidence that pointed towards a missile.  I have participated in several accident investigations, and never before have I seen an investigation which not only did not allow eyewitnesses to testify at the accident investigation hearing, but in this case did not even allow their direct testimony to be discussed or entered into the record. 

This was the first opportunity for the public to hear directly from the eyewitnesses in a public forum.  Yesterday, after the eyewitnesses recounted what they had seen, they answered questions from those in attendance. 

The NTSB should have conducted the original eyewitness interviews under its congressional mandate, but the NTSB meekly allowed itself to be shoved aside by the FBI.

The FBI conducted over seven hundred interviews but they were not video taped or audio taped or even written verbatim.  They were just handwritten notes on pocket pads by individual agents with no particular aviation background.  Even after these notes were transcribed to FBI forms, the forms were not released to the NTSB until months and years after the accident.

When the FBI ended their criminal investigation, the NTSB had a second opportunity to interview the witnesses.  Again the NTSB declined.

My personal interest in this investigation is the ridiculous scenario offered to the public by the CIA and the NTSB and the FBI to discredit the eyewitnesses.  These agencies would have us believe that the eyewitnesses never saw the initial event.  The attention of the eyewitnesses was supposed to have been caught by the sound of the explosion that had taken several seconds to reach them.  The eyewitnesses looked up in time to see the burning fuselage climbing from 13,800 feet to as much as 17,000 feet.  This is supposed to be the bright streak which many saw rising in the sky (never mind that most of the eyewitnesses who saw the streak saw it rising from the surface). 

Every one of the eyewitnesses yesterday said that they saw the event before they heard any sounds from the explosion.  Some of the eyewitnesses never did hear any sounds from the explosion because other factors blocked the sound from reaching their ears, i.e. Meyers and Brumbley were in other aircraft.  Furthermore, all of these eyewitnesses saw the wreckage fall downward out of the explosions.  None of them saw the zoom-climb hypothecated by the government agencies.  The testimony of the eyewitnesses was very reassuring to me.  My conviction that the climb was impossible is based on aerodynamic principles and the Boeing data already released by the NTSB.

Let me express my appreciation to Dr. Tom Stalcup and FIRO for organizing this hearing.  It was video taped.  If we are successful in getting the NTSB to reopen this investigation, we have this tape to present to the NTSB.  It will be the NTSB’s first look at the actual testimony of these important eyewitnesses.

Ray Lahr

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