New info on TWA 800 disaster
Since the publication of my book, TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up, The Conspiracy, three weeks ago I have been receiving insights from people with new information on a daily basis. Those who wish to contact me can do though my website cashill.com. What follows, however, is a review from Amazon. It explains why TWA 800 displaced other planes in line, including an El Al flight, and why, fatally, it was flying so low.
Cashill has done an excellent job making an overwhelming circumstantial case that TWA 800 was brought down by missile. I know quite a bit about this topic as I was personally about as close as you can get to this tragic event.
On 07/17/96, exactly 20 years ago today I was working as First Officer on TWA 900 which was operating JFK to Lisbon. We left the gate on time and got into a 15 or so plane takeoff line for runway 22R. As we got to the number 2 position for takeoff we were told to hold and allow TWA 800 to take our place in the takeoff line. 800 was operating as a "Lifeguard" flight that night meaning they were carrying time critical medical material. (Organs for transplant, etc) This "Lifeguard" status gave a flight priority handling by ATC. (It was common to place that cargo, usually a small cooler, in the cockpit for expeditious handling at destination. I later learned that 800 was carrying corneas for transplant but do not know how they were handled) TWA 800 took off and 2 minutes later we followed them southwest then east towards Nantucket. We were able to get clearance to 19000' while 800 was stuck at 13000' due to other aircraft traffic. They finally got clearance to climb and shortly after that other aircraft began to report an explosion in the air, falling debris and fire on the water, etc. I immediately thought of 800 (bomb in a cooler!?) and look to find them but did not see anything. I later saw the radar plot and I looked in the right relative location but had already passed over the scene.
I mention all of this because I am familiar with or knew the TWA pilots mentioned in the book. They are all of superb character and were dedicated aviation professionals and as far from reactionary in temperament as you can get.One of them I talked extensively with one of these gentlemen about all of what had taken place on the hangar floor at Calverton as TWA 800's shattered pieces were bought in. Cashill's narrative is exactly how it was told to me ca. 1999 or so.
While I disagree with the conclusion Cashill draws that the US Navy was the culprit I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the vast degree to which this investigation was manipulated from the earliest stages - but not immediately. When we arrived in Lisbon the morning of the 18th the Captain I was flying with got a call in his hotel room as soon as we arrived (9am local) from the FBI station chief in Madrid. He asked "What did you guys see?" They already knew what to look for.