2004-10-01 / Editorial/Opinion

An Early Call For An Independent Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has set October 26 as the date for its final report on the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into the streets of Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001. It may seem premature to take the NTSB to task for its report prior to its official issuance, but it has been clear for at least two years that the agency’s report will blame Sten Molin, the First Officer, who was flying the departure from JFK airport that day. We believe that the evidence points elsewhere and that there is sufficient reason for Congress to call for an independent investigation into the causes of the crash. The first reason for such a request came only days after the crash when Marion Blakely, then administrator for the NTSB and now with the Federal Aviation Agency, said that it was an accident and not a terrorist event. It was clear, at least to many in Rockaway, that the NTSB investigation was pointed more towards preserving the aircraft industry, American Airlines and Airbus Industries, than it was towards finding the true reason for the crash. With the NTSB statement that the crash was an accident, the Federal Bureau of Investigation should have closed its criminal investigation and turned everything over to the NTSB. It did not. The FBI, while declining to talk to the press about any investigation, is reportedly still pursuing a stealthy criminal investigation into the crash on a number of levels. The NTSB continues to say that the “twisted metal” shows no sign of explosion or fire prior to the crash. How does it explain then, the eyewitness testimony of several trained observers? How does it explain the debris trail between the bayfront at Beach 108 Street and the crash site, including debris found on the roof of the Rockaway Sunset Diner on Beach 116 street –- fifteen blocks to the east of the crash scene? How does it explain both engines popping off the aircraft prior to the crash? How does it explain the Canadian report that a noted terrorist connected to Osama bin Laden said that the crash was a terrorist act? How does it explain the German report that Airbus Industries falsified the test results to get the A300-600 series aircraft approved even though it had control problems with its tail from the beginning? How does it explain the previous rudder control problems suffered by the A300-600 series over the years? There are just too many questions that still need to be answered three years after the crash. What is needed is an investigation by aviation experts who are not concerned with saving the airline industry in the wake of September 11. It will soon be too late and Anthony Weiner, Greg Meeks, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton should all move for an impartial investigation.

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