Captain McClain's Report to Eastwind Airlines

Flt. No. BBE507    
 Eastwind Airlines      
 Destination: KTTN 
 O/O Time: 1951/2010L   
 O/I time:2101/2103L 
 Capt D. McClaine #203   
 F/O: V. Fuschetti 215 
 Occurence Location: Hampton 236 Radial 20 DME 
 Ocurrence Time: About 2030 Local 
 Wx Conditions: High Cirrus Clouds, Dusk, 40 vis 
 Report: Flying over the sandy point VOR we asked for the 247 radial off
 Sandy Point to intercept the Hampton 236 Radial (V-139), and were denied
 because of traffic. So we proceeded to Hampton as we were filed and on
 the way were told to decend from FL 240 to FL 200. Just prior to the
 descent; I spotted TWA 800 which appeared to have either one landing
 light ON , or two very close together ON. It was a very bright light and
 was moving somewhat toward us, but still crossing our path from right to
 left. The light was a little off color for a landing light so at first I
 thought it might be a fire, but didn’t see any smoke trail which still
 should have been visible at the time if there were one. So I passed it 
 off as a landing light from a very large aircraft such as a B-747 which
 appeared to be just out of JFK. It was definitely the brightest light in
 the sky. 
 Just as we were about to level off at FL200 we were told to descend to
 16,000 MSL with a good rate through FL180. Passing through FL180 we
 turned over Hampton to intercept the 236 Radial. Passing 17,000 feet I
 flicked ON my left inboard landing light to signal the other aircraft,
 (TWA 800) that I had him in sight. The aircraft appeared then to be
 slightly left of our 12:00 position (about on the Hampton 236 Radial)
 and at about 15,000 to 13,000 feet MSLat about 15-19 DME. As I flicked
 on the light the other aircraft exploded into a very large ball of
 flames. Almost immediately two flaming objects, with flames trailing
 about 4000 feet behind them, fell out of the bottom of the ball of
 flame. It was too dark to identify any objects or see any debris. (I
 thought the objects to be the wings, which were full of fuel.)  
 I immediately called BOS ATC and reported an inflight explosion out over
 the water, I stated this twice but didn’t get an immediately reply. ATC
 then issued a couple of instructions to at least two other aircraft,
 routine messages. Then another aircraft; Lufthansa, I think, reported
 that there was indeed an inflight explosion and gave a position report
 off JFK. I then came back and stated that the explosion and column of
 smoke was on the Hampton 236 Radial at 20 DME; which at this time was
 right where we were.The smoke column was just to our left side. Another
 couple of aircraft came up and also reported seeing fire falling into
 the sea. ATC the started a short roll call. My First Officer then said
 to me that he thought it was TWA 800. ATC called TWA 800 a couple of
 time with no reply. I then said to ATC, “I think that’s them.” He
 replied, “I think you’re right.” I then said, “God Bless them.” 
 F/O Fuschetti and i then quickly discussed orbiting the sight or
 whatever action we could take. Since ATC made no request we decided to
 continue on to Trenton because of the darkness below, passengers onboard
 and our fuel state.We were then handed off to New York ATC and told to
 descend to 12, 000 feet with following descents to 4000 feet. During the
 descent to 4000 feet a Navy plane called New York for vectors to the
 scene so he could help out. We told him it was on the Hampton 236 radial
 at 20DME and offered our help to New York. We were then switched over to
 McGuire ATC for our approach into Trenton. The rest of the evening went
 uneventful. I did call Eastwind Dispatch at Trenton to report the
 explosion and at Greensboro once more called and spoke to the Dispatcher
 and the Director of Operations for Eastwind Airlines. 
 Prior to the explosion I did not see any missile, air to air or ground
 to air, as I have seen in the press. I did mention this to my F/O just
 after the explosion. I still think it was a landing light I saw that was
 ON the other aircraft (TWA 800) but can’t rule our that it may have 
 been an engine or wing fire due to the color of the light and its
 brightness. I’m not that familiar with a B-747 landing lights. 
 Note by Richard Hirsch: 
 I retyped this report from the original because the type size was so
 small that it could not be read on the web page. I included all of the
 typo’s that were present in the original. I left justified the heading
 of the report to make it easier to present on the web page. 
 Richard Hirsch 



  Evidence of a Missile

  Flight 800 Database

Flight 800

Poll Results

>1000 Respondents

  Missile-------- 80%


  Bomb --------  4%


  Fuel Tank --- 14%

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