Flight 587 coverup?

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NY Post 1/7 02




New Yorkers who believe they saw American Airlines Flight 587 explode in flames before its tail sheared off have accused crash investigators of ignoring their eyewitness accounts and prematurely ruling out a terrorist attack.

Six witnesses, including a recently retired police lieutenant, an FDNY deputy chief and a former firefighter, have written to the National Transportation Safety Board, demanding they be called to testify at a public hearing.

Tom Lynch, 59, a retired firefighter, said he had also spoken to 18 o ther people who saw the Airbus A300 flying on fire before it crashed into houses in Belle Harbor, Queens, on Nov. 12, killing 265 people.

"The NTSB is not publicly acknowledging the many eyewitness accounts of the in-flight fire or explosion, many from people who are adamant that the fire occurred before any tail or engine breakups," he told The Post.

Lynch, who organized the letter, said he was standing on Rockaway Beach Boulevard when he saw a bright orange ball of flame streaming from the right side of the plane.

Two or three seconds later, he said, he saw a larger eruption of flames consuming the entire right side of the plane's fuselage.

"There were no falling parts until the second explosion of flames - I'll go to my grave with that," he said.

The witnesses said they were surprised NTSB Chairwoman Marion Blakey was able to say, only hours after the crash, that all indications pointed to an accident, rather than a terrorist attack.

"How could that statement be made while the flight-data recorder had not been recovered, the crash-investigation team had not yet showed up and initial eyewitness reports included many accounts of one or two explosions in flight?" Lynch said.

Another witness not involved with Lynch's group, Michael Benjamin, said he saw a huge orange fire engulfing the front third of the plane's right side while he was driving along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

Benjamin, who works for the Oversight, Analysis and Investigations Committee of the state Assembly, said he had attempted to contact the NTSB but had not received a return call.

Preliminary reports written by the NTSB have not mentioned in-flight explosions, but have focused on air turbulence, the composite materials used to build the jet's vertical tail, and sudden rudder movements.

An NTSB spokesman said more than 200 eyewitness accounts had been recorded and were being considered as part of the investigation.

But he said if the NTSB decided to conduct a public hearing, it would most likely seek opinions from air-safety and aeronautical-design experts rather than witnesses.

The people who signed the letter, in addition to Lynch, are retired NYPD Officer James Conrad, FDNY Deputy Chief Peter Hayden, retired transit cop Richard Kvies, sales manager John Power and food-services manager Ellie Scholfield.

-- (lars@indy.net), January 07, 2002


Perhaps one of the passengers was wearing those new Gucci C-4 shoes!

-- (score one @ for the. shoebombers), January 08, 2002.

Most recently published NTSB update, 12/18/01

-- (lars@indy.net), January 08, 2002.

I read an article somewhere recently that said that eye witness reports are very unreliable as offering clues. A number of studies concluded that most people don't get the facts straight and can't remember any details about the incidents.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), January 08, 2002.

Maria, there have been classic cases of what you are talking about, eye-witness unreliability, in the teaching situation. Someone rushes into the classroom and pretends to slug the instructor, and runs out again, for example. Afterwards the class has to describe the supposed perp, and usually does amazingly poorly.

-- Peter Errington (petere7@starpower.net), January 08, 2002.

True, it may be difficult to recall a sequence of events accurately which takes place in a matter of a few seconds.

That is beside the point. These people all saw large balls of flame on the right side of the plane. The NTSB claims the engines did not explode, and nothing else exploded, so where did the flames come from?

Either these people all had a simultaneous hallucination, or there was an explosion which the NTSB does not want the public to know about.

-- (NTSB@hiding.facts), January 08, 2002.

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