A8 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1997 TWA FLIGHT BOO THE SALINA JOURNAL burning fuel Feds say streak of light before crash wasn't missile By The Associated Press NEW YORK — Dealing a blow to the theory that a missile brought down TWA Flight 800, a study by the FBI and the CIA says the streak of light seen by more than JWO people just before the crash Was probably the plane breaking up and spilling burning fuel. ..The seven-month study, which Is nearing completion, found that "Vvhat people interpreted as a missile was in fact the aircraft after the first explosion rocked it," Carolyn Osborn, a CIA spokeswoman, said Tuesday. "The plane continued to gain al- tijtude, giving the appearance of a missile," Osborn said. ;-, Investigators know the crash in 1996 came after an explosion in the center fuel tank, but they are still investigating what caused it. They are leaning toward mechanical failure but have not entirely ruled out a bomb or missile. The FBI had asked the CIA for help analyzing more than 200 eyewitness reports of something resembling a flare in the sky just be- fpre the Boeing 747 blew up, New York FBI head James Kallstrom told Congress earlier this month. "We became involved because of the possibility that this was a terrorist incident," the CIA's Osborn said. CIA weapons specialists — experts on how missiles explode and how planes behave when they are hit by them — helped, Osborn said. Investigators used infrared imagery and sound propagation to study how the sound of the blast traveled over the water and perhaps caused witnesses to see the explosion before they actually heard it. Investigators interviewed each of the witnesses, and went to the spot where each person had been to determine how much they could have seen. They also used weather, radar and flight data. The Paris-bound jumbo jet exploded July 17, 1996, shortly after leaving New York's Kennedy Airport, killing all 230 people on board. None of the witnesses who re- CARROLL HAMILTON Roofing Company "nMHarfeofExMUMCf ttllna: c.» 765-452.9224 MiMMapofte: calf T8549&2068 1-800-864-4657 FREEEst/iMte What do the prophets say? Born to Win KFRMAM550 Sat. 12 Noon Sun. 11:30 am WTOWAM580 Sun. 10am Call 1-888-BIBLE-44 fora free audio tape. ported a streak in the sky told investigators they saw it leave the ground or actually strike the plane. The analysis concluded that most of the witnesses probably could not have seen the initial explosion of a jet that rose 13,700 feet and flew 10 miles off the coast before crashing. Instead, they saw the beginning stages of the plane's breakup after the nose section had been ripped from the body, the study found. With the nose gone, the suddenly lighter plane tipped up. "You are getting a trail of flame, and the air is spraying the flaming trail even farther. 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