Citing New Evidence, Surviving Family Members Sue Feds, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Over 1996 TWA Crash

An amended complaint filed in Massachusetts federal court on Monday has accused the United States Department of Defense, the United States Navy, and contractors Raytheon Technologies Corporation and Lockheed Martin Corporation of a cover-up of the 1996 aviation incident resulting in the death of all 230 passengers and crew members aboard Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800.

The wrongful death suit claims that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) evidence has “emerged proving that TWA 800’s explosion was not caused by any defect in the airplane, but instead by an errant United States missile fired at aerial target drones flying nearby. “

The suit, brought by the survivors of those onboard, explains that TWA 800 took off from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at around 8:20 p.m. on July 17, 1996 bound for Paris. “Within twelve minutes of takeoff, the plane exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Long Island, New York,” the suit says.

Thereafter, the federal government issued a report finding that the explosion “was the result of an electrical fire in the airplane’s center fuel tank.” According to FOIA information uncovered by physicist Dr. Thomas Stalcup, the report was false, the complaint says.

Instead, the lawsuit claims that the cause of the explosion was the testing of the Aegis Weapons System developed and managed by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. It explains that the defense system fired SM-2 missiles with live warheads from warships at aerial missile targets off the coast of New York in close proximity to commercial flight paths.

The filing states claims for negligence, wrongful death and survivorship, and against the contractor defendants, product liability for failure to warn and manufacturing defect. The complaint specifies that the contractor defendants’ missile defense system suffered from “system-specific software problems.”

The complaint lists “failure to accept changes in mislabeled data identifying a friendly aircraft as a hostile aircraft … excess messages overloading systems, causing system crashes and the loss of command and control resources during critical periods … improper track identification … and duplicate tracks distorting the joint tactical picture, denying vital information to battle managers and shooters,” as some of those shortcomings.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bailey & Glasser LLP.