The 20th anniversary of the TWA Flight 800 crash is nearing, and some relatives are speaking out about conspiracy theories that a missile brought down the doomed airliner. John Seaman lost his niece in the horrific crash and says that he wishes everyone would “let it go” so that people can heal.
TWA Flight 800 took off from John F. Kennedy Airport on July 17, 1996, with 230 people aboard heading to Paris, France. Shortly after takeoff, the Boeing 747 exploded into flames, sending the wreckage into the water off of the coast of Long Island. All 230 aboard the plane perished, and investigators found that a short-circuit had triggered the explosion of the center fuel-tank, leading to the deaths. However, some witnesses say they saw a missile hit the plane, leading some to believe that the plane was shot down.
The Daily Mail reports that some of the family members of victims on the TWA flight are requesting that those who believe the plane was shot down should “let it go.” John Seaman is one such relative. John says that his niece died in the TWA Flight 800 crash and that his family is still just trying to heal. He says that the conspiracy theories do nothing for the healing process and that, after 20 years, he had hoped that many people would have had time to forget some of the details and move on.
“Let it go. It’s time to take a deep breath and reflect. I think the passage of time is helpful. It allows some of us to forget a lot of the details. The loved ones are not forgotten. To us, it’s about healing.”
Though Seaman is hoping that people can let the missile theory go for the 20th anniversary, other relatives say that they simply can’t do that because they believe the real cause of the crash was covered up by the FBI. In 2013 shortly before the 17th anniversary, the missile theory gained steam again when numerous investigators working on the crash became “whistleblowers.”
Some of the investigators are claiming that they were told not to photograph certain portions of the aircraft that were recovered from the water, with some suggesting there was evidence that a missile may have downed the plane. Lisa Michelson says her son Yon Rojany was on the doomed TWA Flight 800 headed to Italy to play pro basketball. Michelson is one of the family members who says that she can’t let it go and that she wants an investigation reopened. She says she doesn’t know why the crash was covered up by the FBI but says it could have possibly been that then-President Bill Clinton didn’t want a terrorist attack to be noted on American soil.
“It’s a terrible cover-up. I don’t know why. Maybe because the Olympics were that year or it was an election year and [President Bill] Clinton didn’t want to have a terrorist attack on US soil.”
Despite differing opinions on the missile theory, Michelson says she will attend the 20th anniversary memorial service this year. Michelson says that she goes because people there “understand” and are a reliable shoulder to lean on. She says that memorials in the past have been “so meaningful.”
— AP Eastern U.S. (@APEastRegion) July 10, 2016
In addition to the 230 people killed in the TWA crash, Reverend Mychal Judge, the New York Fire Department’s chaplain who raced to a hotel near the JFK airport following the crash to comfort families, is also memorialized at the location. Judge is the only person who was not a victim to be remembered at the TWA memorial site. Judge was praised for his quick response and care during such a difficult time. Sadly, Judge died doing his duty as Chaplain on 9/11. Judge was the first confirmed fatality following the horrifying 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers.
“He got to know the families, he prayed with us. He was a great consolation.”
— Firefighter Nation (@firenation) July 10, 2016
What do you think about the renewed interest in the TWA Flight 800 crash with the upcoming 20th anniversary memorial service? Do you think investigators should reopen the case to determine if a missile may have shot down the plane?
[Image by Kathy Kmonicek/ AP Photo]