TWA Flight 800
The Impossible Zoom Climb

TWA Flight 800
Eyewitness Materials

Below is an assembly of links to various TWA Flight 800 eyewitness materials from three websites, and links to some records that have been released in other FOIA cases. The websites are

TWA Flight 800 Witness Project - Chart of Eyewitness Accounts (Excel)

Government Eyewitness Materials
disclosed in Ray Lahr’s FOIA case:


137 PagesMay 13, 2008 CIA Production

8-14 April 1997 CIA Report, Summary FBI’s Critique of TWA
800 Analysis, redacting names of six eyewitnesses

407 PagesOct 16, 2005 CIA Production

24Feb 1997 CIA Report, TWA800 Witness Questions,
“The following witnesses all report seeing an object rise
and hit the aircraft…” followed by redactions of the names
of eight eyewitnesses

159-160Oct 1997 CIA Report, New Radar Plots Impact on TWA800 Analysis, redacting eight eyewitnesses’ names

164-211Undated 47-page CIA Report, Eyewitness/Radar correlation study, redacting names of 233 eyewitnesses

259-260April 1997 CIA Report, Location of Eyewitness, redacting names of two eyewitnesses

261-269Undated CIA Report, Timeline of Witness Observations, redacting names of 105 eyewitnesses

277-279Undated CIA Report, Eyewitnesses With Extensive Past or Possible Future Media Coverage, redacting names of 17 eyewitnesses

284-407Undated 124-page CIA Report of “eyewitness accounts of the destruction of TWA Right 800, including location, observations, and analyses regarding
distance and direction of respective eyewitness at the time
of the explosion and elapsed time for Initial sound to reach
the witness,” redacting names of 200 eyewitnesses

585 PagesMay 12, 2005 FBI Production

40-45Undated CIA Report, Eyewitness location Excel file, redacting names of 114 eyewitnesses

46-417233 FBI 302 Eyewitness Interview Reports
(CIA claims to have relied on these accounts)

418-424Undated CIA Report, Eyewitness location/sound Excel file, redacting names of 201 eyewitnesses

Four undated CIA Reports, Eyewitness location/sound
Excel files, redacting names of 208 eyewitnesses425-431

460-463Undated CIA Report, redacting names of 204 eyewitnesses

Other Eyewitness Materials
appearing at

Airborne eyewitness Major Fred Meyer
NTSB Hearing Excerpt

Airborne eyewitness Dwight Brumley
Affidavit Transcript
NTSB Hearing Excerpt

Airborne eyewitness Captain David McClaine
ATC audio
Sworn statement transcript

Airborne eyewitness Vincent Fuschetti

Eyewitness Mike Wire
NTSB Hearing Excerpt

Eyewitness Paul Angelides
NTSB Hearing Excerpt

Eyewitness Lisa Perry
Affidavit Transcript

Eyewitness 649

NTSB Exhibit 4A, October 1997 Witness Group Factual Report
( at
page 44), disclosing that 94 of 458 FBI 302 interview reports recite
that eyewitnesses saw streak rise from surface

PageCaptain Ray Lahr

40Exhibit 1: April 1999, Transcript CIA Briefing to the NTSB Witness Group (disclosing December 1996 idea to “explain what the eyewitnesses are seeing with only
the burning aircraft”)

FBI request for NTSB to ban eyewitness materials and testimony from Sunshine Hearing
42-45Exhibits 2 and 3: December 3, 1997, letter from FBI’s Kallstrom to NTSB Chairman Hall requesting exclusion of the eyewitnesses and eyewitness testimony from the
December 1997 Sunshine Hearing; letter from Hall to
Kallstrom granting request

90-91Exhibit 7: August 15,2000, The Washington Times full page ad, by seven eyewitnesses, “…We Won’t be Silenced any Longer” asking to be heard at NTSB 200
Sunshine Hearings. (2 pages)

Commander William S. Donaldson

Dr. Vernon Gross

Dr. Tom Stalcup

Michael Hull
Affidavit re eyewitness accuracy probabilities

Selected Eyewitness
Materials appearing at Associated
Retired Aviation Professionals website

Eyewitness Triangulation Studies —— Origin of rising streak of light —— Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau’s Deputy Inspector Douglass Matulewich led joint FBI/Police effort to plot 11 eyewitnesses’ observations to locate missile firing positions, reporting that “this information taken together indicates to me the very real possibility. . . [that] the ‘shooter’ would have had to been at one of” two locations, and concluding that it is “strongly recommended. . . a minimum a one (1) nautical mile area. . . should be searched for the remains of equipment that would launch a portable missile. The possibility exists that the equipment was discarded and now remains on the ocean floor.” FBI / Suffolk County Police Missile Team Triangulation Study (portions redacted)

FBI then initiated six-month dredging operation centered over locations identified by missile team as launch points, using three scallop trawlers each equipped with two FBI agents, detailed Stinger component drawings, and trawling maps annotated “Per FBI – Possible Missile Launch Zone – 2.7nm.” See ARAP article The Smoking Gun.

Commander William S. Donaldson conducted his own Triangulation Study. Although Matulewich and Donaldson conducted their studies simultaneously, at the time, neither was aware of the other’s efforts to plot missile firing positions. Commander Donaldson’s Google Earth graphic plotting two suspected missile launch locations from GPS coordinates of Missile Teams’ Triangulation Studies.

Eyewitness Triangulation Map combining Commander Donaldson’s and FBI’s witness studies of firing positions, adding radar data showing suspicious boats & 30-knot-target, Flight 800?s path, missile debris field.

See also Eyewitness Views of Flight 800, showing views of 12 Triangulation Study eyewitnesses.

Eyewitness Highlights ——

Selection of 70 accounts from the 755 FBI 302 interview Reports.

NTSB Eyewitness reports/studies
NTSB Eyewitness Group CD —Addendum 1 Appendices

FBI 302 Eyewitness interview Reports
Transcripts and interview reports
Witness group studies
Eyewitness studies

NTSB 1999 list of 755 FBI 302 reports
NTSB Eyewitness coordinates list
NTSB Eyewitness Situation/Coordinates list
Witness Database – summaries excel list

See also investigative record —— no longer available on NTSB Aviation Accident Database:

NTSB CD from the November 27, 1997 Public Hearing
NTSB CD from the August, 2000 Final Public Hearing
Seat Reconstruction Photos – Exhibit 6H

NTSB Final Report
Full Report (7.6M)
Appendices (8.9M)

Selected Eyewitness Materials
appearing at Flight 800 Independent
Researchers Organization website

Dec 2000 Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO) articles ——
Witness sketches get no sunlight at ‘Sunshine Hearing’
Sketch located by independent researcher
Eyewitness portion of TWA Submission to NTSB:
The following is largely a synopsis of FIRO’s 12-page
Review of the Official TWA Flight 800 Witness Reports

First NTSB Study
Oct 1997 NTSB Eyewitness Group Factual Report – Exhibit 4A (html version), was based on the 458 FBI 302 interview reports that the FBI permitted the NTSB to review. See page 2:

[T]he NTSB operations group chairman met with assistant United States Attorney Valerie Caproni… [who] reiterated that no interviews were to be conducted by the NTSB, but the NTSB could review FBI supplied documents provided no notes were taken and no copies made.

The FBI had 670 eyewitness 302's, but withheld from the NTSB 212 of them, including all such reports with descriptions of a streak colliding with an aircraft. The Report’s matrix contains the following statistics:

  • Total witness accounts: 458
  • Streak of light witnesses: 183
  • Fireball witnesses: 339
  • Reported origin of streak: 102
  • Originated from surface: 96
  • Originated in air: 6
  • Streak traveled vertically or nearly so: 38
  • Airplane/streak witnesses (saw streak
    and airplane separately): 7

Although NTSB Exhibit 4A is not among the thousands of Flight 800 public records at the NTSB website, independent researchers obtained hard copies of it at the 1997 Sunshine Hearing. (The FBI forbade presentation of eyewitness materials and testimony at 1997 Sunshine Hearing. See above Affidavit of Ray Lahr Exhibits 1 and 2.)

Second NTSB Study
The NTSB’s Witness Group Study Report, issued two-and-a-half years later and concurrently with the NTSB’s second Sunshine Hearing, in August of 2000, was also based solely on a review of FBI 302 interview reports without the benefit of any NTSB interviews.

The 2000 study’s use of strict definitions resulted in underreporting. For example, only those who immediately recognized one of two objects as an aircraft (the seven “Airplane/Streak” witnesses) were counted as having seen the object strike the aircraft, and only those whose view of the ocean was unobstructed were counted toward the 33 who witnessed the object’s origin. (The 1997 study had no “Airplane/Streak” definition because the FBI had withheld all such accounts from the NTSB Witness Group.)

FIRO Study
Selected results of FIRO’s own review of 670 FBI 302 interview Reports:

  • Reported rising streak of light: 182
  • Origin/trajectory witnesses: 134
    (Reported the origin or
    trajectory of rising streak)
  • Recounted streak’s origin: 67
    (93% reported originated at surface)
  • Account includes streak’s angle of ascent: 56
    (87% reported vertical or nearly so)
  • Compass witnesses provided
    information re streak’s direction: 77
    (Many reported streak flying in a different
    direction from that of Flight 800)
  • Recalled two distinct objects in air: 21
    (Most recognized one object as airplane
    and other as streak or flare)


The Record in Other FOIA Cases

Stalcup v. CIA Complaint (USDC MA CA No. 11-11250)
CIA email correspondence, 12 pages
Other records (under construction)

Stalcup v. Navy Complaint (USDC MA CA No. 13-11966)
"TWA Flight 800 Navy Support to the Recovery Efforts,"
reprinted from
1 page

Stalcup v. DOD Complaint (USDC MA CA No. 13-11967)