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February 13, 2002

Open Letter to the NTSB Witness Chairman Regarding a Witness Who Observed Flight 587 Very Early in Flight

by Victor Trombettas
I have changed the name of the witness mentioned below (Witness Alpha) because he/she is adamant they want no attention whatsoever from anyone. The NTSB does have the real name and contact info. The map I mention in the letter is included below.

Open Letter to the NTSB Witness Chairman:


I just want to confirm that you have Witness Alpha's testimony.

Alpha, a former Special Forces member familiar with ordinance and now a retired New York City Uniformed Officer, spotted the doomed flight very early in it's ascent. This makes Alpha--and others like Alpha (like John and Jackie Power) who spotted the plane as it neared and attained its peak altitude before it spun out of control and lost the rudder and tail--key witnesses.

Alpha was in a backyard, relaxing, and looking up at the southern sky, watching the planes takeoff from JFK on the morning of Nov. 12th. Alpha was at XXXXX Avenue and 1 block east of Cross Bay Blvd. If you look at the attached picture of a map of the area (with Alpha's location marked with a red X on the far left), Alpha was just a little more than 1 mile north of JFK. Flight 587 crossed Alpha's line of sight just as it was nearing and passing Cross Bay Bridge/Blvd; initially the plane looked just fine. After a short while, Alpha noticed a white and yellow explosive flash appear behind the right wing in the fuselage. Alpha knows what ordinance explosions look like, and to Alpha that's what this appeared to be. The flash was followed by a stream of smoke. This appears to be the stream of smoke John and Jackie Power spotted at least 5 seconds before the plane spun violently, and then began its descent into Belle Harbor. Prior to that initial flash, the flight of 587 seemed perfectly normal.

If John Power's estimate that he witnessed at least the last 22 seconds of the flight is accurate, then Alpha saw more than that (since John Power was standing west of Alpha, and the first thing John saw was the smoke from the right side). In fact, Alpha saw this plane in distress so early in it's flight, Alpha was on the phone with emergency services before the plane hit the ground.

Here's what I, and many others, have trouble with Mr. Chairman. The NTSB had this testimony (and similar accounts) very soon after the crash. Yet, the NTSB has "all but ruled out" criminal or terrorist activity (based on comments Marion Blakey made to National Public Radio on January 8th). Since November 12th, the official word has been that Flight 587 was being treated as an accident. The only way the NTSB can reach such conclusions would be if:

(a) the NTSB doubts the veracity of any of these witness testimonies.
(b) the NTSB has a sound mechanical explanation (such as compressor stalls), consistent with an accident, for all these fire and explosion reports, but for some reason has decided not to share those educated speculations with the public. We've heard educated speculations about possible pilot reactions and use of the rudder, so some educated speculations about what many witnesses saw would not be inappropriate. They would help to dispel terrorism concerns and concerns of disregard for witnesses.
(c) as some people have speculated, including at least one former NTSB Board Member, the NTSB was under political pressure to conclude an accident was the cause.

Thanks for your consideration, and I look forward to your reply.

Truly Yours,

Victor Trombettas

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