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TWA Flight 800 Documentary Screens At Stony Brook Film Festival

Chelsea Katz

TWA Flight 800 killed 230 people and a new documentary features investigators ready to break their silence. (Courtesy Photo)

Seventeen years after the TWA 800 flight crash in 1996, investigators are coming forward in a new EPIX documentary that debuted last Wednesday and one of this year's feature films at The 18th annual Stony Brook Film Festival.

On July 17th, 1996, flight TWA 800 (a Boeing 747 jet) departed from JFK International Airport at approximately 10:02 p.m. to stop in Paris before reaching its final destination at Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport in Italy. At around 10:31 p.m. a flight out of Boston reported an explosion in the sky over East Moriches. The 230 passengers and crew fell into the Atlantic Ocean.

In the immediate aftermath, rumors circulated as The National Transportation Security Board investigated the incident. Some speculated a terrorist missile-- others theorized various mechanical failures. In August 2000, The NTSB concluded that there was an explosion in the center wing fuel tank but not seem particularly certain.

TWA Flight 800 disproves the physics set forth by The NTSB and other possible scenarios. According to executive producer Tom Stacculp, the primary explanation, an explosion in the center wing tank, was not practical and the speed patterns did not follow the law of conservation of energy.

Kristina Borjesson, who worked for CBS New York at the time, first heard about the plane crash when a friend called her asking if her son was on that flight to Paris.

"I felt like hot oil had just been put on my brain," she said.

Her son was not in the plane and Borjesson was assisgned the story the next day. The story would follow her from network to network for 17 years. She said she kept on reporting because more and more eyewitnesses were coming forward, totaling over 600 bystanders.

Stacculp, a physics student at the time, felt that the reports he was hearing seemed scientifically impossible. Eventually he started calling eyewitnesses directly.

"I wanted the media to report accurately and from what I saw, they weren't," he said.

According to the documentary, the NTSB withheld an abundance of information by not allowing investigators to write fully conclusive reports and telling eyewitnesses that what they saw was not real.

"After trying to run away from this story... I just felt like I did not want to be a journalist anymore," Borjesson said of the censorship she encountered.

The online advance tickets for Borjesson's and Stacculp's documentary were sold out and the investigation still continues.

For more information on the 18th annual Stony Brook Film Festival visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.

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