2001-12-15 / Columnists

From the G-Man

The Mystery of Flight 587
By Gary G. Toms

Hey people! Of all the reports I’ve read in the daily papers about what may have caused Flight 587 to go down in Belle Harbor, I am very intrigued by statements made by Tom Lynch. Lynch, a retired firefighter, stated to New York Post reporter Steve Dunleavy that he saw two explosions occur prior to the crash.

"I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the right-hand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car. The plane kept going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, and then "vwoof" – the second, big explosion on the right wing. It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I’m telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion," said Lynch.

He insists that his testimony is factual, and he has even gone as far as to try and speak to the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about what he witnessed. According to Lynch, neither agency was interested in hearing his story. The article goes on to note that his attempts to inform Senators Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton and Congressman Anthony Weiner fell on deaf ears.

One could very easily dismiss Lynch’s claims and say that he’s one fry short of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. What makes his story so captivating is the fact that there are many other witnesses that have come forward and made the same claim. We’re not talking about the group from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest". These witnesses come from very reputable backgrounds.

There are a total of 13 other witnesses, including Jim Conrad, a retired police lieutenant.

"I saw exactly what Tom saw. I was near a stoplight at the Marine Parkway Bridge. First, there was the small explosion. The plane kept on going, tail intact, then there was a big explosion and the plane nose-dived. The first thing I said was, ‘The bastards did it again.’ "

Another element to this case that is fueling suspicion is the fact that a traffic surveillance video that reportedly captured Flight 587’s midair breakup has not been publicly released.

James Kallstrom, New York State’s newly appointed security czar, does not know why the tape has not been released to the public up to this point.

"I have not seen the tape. I heard some mention of it, but I have not seen the tape and I really have no knowledge of it. Why it hasn’t been released, I suspect, is because the investigation is ongoing. But I really don’t know the answer to the question," stated Kallstrom.

Many believe that the crash of Flight 587 was linked to terrorism and that government officials are deceiving the public about the investigation. Skeptics denounce any accusations of terrorism by saying that it is not in the government’s best interest to lie to the American public about airline safety or what happened in the case of Flight 587. I beg to differ.

It would be in the government’s best interest to lie to us because of the fact that they just bailed out the airline industry to the tune of more than a billion dollars. If that doesn’t illustrate the enormous significance of the airline industry on the economy, I don’t know what does. Also, we are in the midst of the biggest holiday traveling season of the year. We are also in a recession. We need methods of jumpstarting the economy, and the government is in no position to throw any more money around with a shrinking surplus. Simply put, the government wants people to travel by air and they are doing everything to assure the public that the airports and airlines are safe. If the eyewitness reports were true, it would make all the sense in the world why the government is not telling us the truth about Flight 587.

Telling the truth would lead to further destruction of the airline industry. Everyone would find alternate methods of travel, just to avoid getting on a plane. The family dog would probably look at you like you were crazy if you said, "C’mon boy! We’re flying to Puerto Rico this week!"

Telling the truth would mean mass hysteria and widespread panic about continued attacks against us. Telling the truth would mar our "success" in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan because the downing of Flight 587 would undoubtedly prove that we are still vulnerable on any given day. I think you get the point.

While the NTSB’s explanation for the crash seems valid, the claims made by Lynch and Conrad cannot, and should not, be dismissed. They are far too credible. Furthermore, what would these guys have to gain by lying to the FBI or NTSB? These agencies are more notorious than the IRS! No one needs publicity that bad.

It is so ironic that they are former representatives of the NYPD and the FDNY, the agencies that are supposed to be the epitome of truth and honor. Sadly, Lynch and Conrad now find themselves in the position of having to defend their claims and their honor, as their fallen comrades are still being laid to rest.

Whatever position you take on the crash of Flight 587, consider this. A representative from the NTSB recently said something that I thought was very interesting. The comment came after weeks of supporting the theory that the plane crashed because its tail came off.

"Although we are satisfied with our findings regarding the crash of Flight 587, we cannot rule out other possible causes."

See you next week.

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