Retired Navy Pilot Says
Missiles Downed
TWA Flight 800
By Glen Johnson
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A retired Navy pilot who has been investigating the crash of TWA Flight 800 said Monday that the plane was destroyed by two missiles that exploded just off the left wing.
William Donaldson, joined at a news conference by two former TWA pilots and three eyewitnesses to the July 1996 crash, did not say who he believes fired such missiles. One, he said, was launched from a boat just off the coast of Long Island, the other from a second vessel farther south.
The plane exploded as it flew from New York to Paris, killing all 230 aboard.
Donaldson said the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, pressured by unidentified, high-ranking U.S. officials, have steered the public toward a theory that the plane's center fuel tank exploded.
"Politicians are interfering at the top. People that should be bubbling the answers from the bottom are silenced," Donaldson said at the conclusion of a nearly four-hour briefing was arranged by Reed Irvine and his conservative group, Accuracy in Media.
The NTSB has not determined the cause of the crash, but it has ruled out a missile strike or a bomb on board. Investigators believe an electrical spark may have ignited the fuel tank.
"Cmdr. Donaldson was wrong when he postulated that Jet-A fuel could not explode. It did. He is wrong today," said Peter Goelz, the board's managing director.
FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette said: "We remain unaware of any new evidence that would cause us to reopen our criminal investigation."
Besides Donaldson, those speaking at the news conference included retired TWA Capt. Howard Mann, a military accident investigator, and retired TWA Capt. Albert Mundo, who served as flight engineer on the next-to-last flight of the Boeing 747.

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