- 2000 APR 20 -


00-04-20           Received a copy of the memo that became the report to C/Supt. DUNCAN of the New York trip.  The rough draft had been written by Brian LONDON, but it seems that Peter PURCHASE put this final report together and now is in E&R as task #1085 under Foreign Travel – New York.  It states that it addresses the ten outstanding investigative issues, but in fact it seems to only address five issues.  Item #2 states:  There was a general consensus among conference participants that there was an ample fuel source to sustain a fire when considering the composition of the overhead material found in the aircraft based on the scenario we presented to them.

            Well, I question the knowledge and qualifications of anyone at the meeting regarding this point.  Only Brian LONDON had been on an MD-11, and he certainly didn’t know what was above the ceiling.  No one there knew the composition of the material above ceiling, its ability to burn, let alone its ability to do damage to the aircraft.  No one has informed me of the qualifications of the US participants in the meeting.  I know the qualifications of our people.  The paragraph goes on to cover the fact that the TSB (at our request?) will conduct further tests to determine if this is in fact true.

The next paragraph goes on:  No physical evidence has been found to date by investigators to indicate the use of a bomb.  There has also been much discussion, both here and in New York, of what evidence might we expect to find relative to an incendiary device. Based on the lack of any physical evidence to date and upon these discussions, I am satisfied an incendiary device did not play a part in the downing of this aircraft.

            I agree that there is nothing to indicate a bomb on board.  We have no indication of an explosion at all.  But I feel that there is certainly physical evidence at this time to indicate an incendiary device.  We have an intense fire in a confined space with a limited fire load, the fire lasting over a long period of time, and evidence of magnesium, a likely constituent of such a device.  I am certainly not satisfied at this time that an incendiary device did not play a vital role in downing the aircraft.

            Four other areas are discussed, to which I have nothing particular to add.  What is of interest is the fact that AES is not even mentioned.  In the draft, it was mentioned that the flight 800 report was due to arrive shortly.  I suspect that report will form the basis for this, however little connection there may be. 

           Then the report goes to a conclusion.  Given the wide range of issues discussed in New York and any possible association to a criminal act, it is evident from reviewing this report there is a difference of opinion in some areas.  However, it is my view based on all of these discussions, a review of our investigation and consultation with the Transportation Safety Board, the evidence gathered to date supports that of an accidental crash of this aircraft.

            It would seem that my reports and the findings so far of Dr. BROWN and the Auger testing didn’t count for anything.  Neither did the concerns of John GARSTANG, FAA and NTSB people, and Boeing engineers regarding the amount of damage versus the limited fire load.  The AES report wasn’t in yet, the seawater test wires were only barely wet, and already the process was written off.  QUINTIERE and the fire investigators hadn’t even been here, yet they were written off. 

            What is really funny is the fact that this report is dated 00-04-20, but DUNCAN’s report indicating the ‘spooling down’ of the investigation predates this report by more than three weeks (00-03-27).  Should not this report have come first?  Also, the New York report comes up in E&R as being written by CHRISTIANSEN, not just a small bit of irony. 

            Needless to say, I don’t agree with the report.  However, DUNCAN is to meet with us to discuss our findings.  We’ll see what comes of it.  There is rumour of a concluding report for the file.  That should be very interesting. 




*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



------------ TIME LINE ------------