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12 July 1998
Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 19:43:59 -0400 To: jya[at]pipeline.com From: DN Subject: Scary Scarry July 12, 1998 Professor Pushes TWA Crash Theory Filed at 7:35 p.m. EDT By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) -- A Harvard University English professor believes electromagnetic interference -- possibly from military craft -- might be responsible for the downing of TWA Flight 800. Professor Elaine Scarry's theory is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board as part of its inquiry into the July 17, 1996, crash off Long Island, chairman James Hall said. All 230 people aboard died when the Boeing 747 jumbo jet exploded in midair minutes after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport for Paris. Investigators say the plane's central fuel tank exploded, but have not been able to say why. Two theories -- a bomb or a missile -- were ruled out after an extensive probe. An exchange of letters between Ms. Scarry and Hall appears in the July 16 issue of the New York Review of Books, which on April 9 published an article by Ms. Scarry raising the question of whether electromagnetic interference, or EMI, from an outside source triggered the disaster. Ms. Scarry said the interference could have come from one of about 10 military ships or planes in the vicinity. Those craft may have used the kind of powerful signaling equipment that could affect another craft's systems, she said. Electromagnetic signals from other craft could have prompted an electrical charge aboard TWA 800 to jump from high-voltage wires to low voltage wires and then travel to the fuel gauge and the fuel tank. Electromagnetic interference is suspected as the cause of at least six military disasters, Ms. Scarry said. She has asked federal investigators to say whether any other aircraft in the area experienced problems possibly traceable to the same cause. In a March 13 letter to Hall, Ms. Scarry said NTSB findings had not ruled out the possibility that a High Intensity Radiated Field, or HIRF, played a part in the crash of TWA 800. Hall replied in a May 27 letter that the NTSB was going to probe the possibility of electromagnetic phenomena having affected the TWA jetliner. Ms. Scarry insisted in a June 17 letter that a TWA pilot's comments about a ``crazy'' fuel gauge and difficulty stabilizing the plane just before the explosion could be anomalies hinting at an EMI event. Despite the persistent letters, Ms. Scarry said she trusted the NTSB to investigate the case thoroughly and was impressed by its hearings earlier this year on the TWA crash. ``I don't believe they are willfully leaving things out, but we are in an age of electronic technology and electronic warfare, and we haven't come completely to terms with that,'' she said Sunday in a telephone interview from her Cambridge, Mass., home. Hall was not available for comment.