Suggesting a Missile Launch
and/or Military Activity Near
the TWA Flight 800 Crash
© 2001 Ian Williams Goddard
In determining the nature of the phenomenon witnesses reported streaking toward Flight 800, ascertaining its point of origin is critical. While a jet at 13,700 feet 10+ miles away would be seen to slowly crawl across the sky, a surface-to-air missile would originate from the surface and virtically rise to 13,700 within seconds. The phenomenon doing that reported by witnesses is called the "streak of light."
The NTSB addressed the question of the origin of the phenomenon streaking toward the crash in two studies of the FBI witness reports. The first study concluded: "Of the 102 witnesses who gave information about the streak ... 94.11% said it originated from the surface." Therefore, most of the relevant witness reports (those indicating an origin) support the missile theory. The second study used a different set of definitions: witnesses who said the phenomenon streaking toward the crash came from the "horizon" were grouped separately from those who said it came from the "surface." But once the two groups are combined, we find that 93% of the witnesses who indicated a point of origin and who had a clear view of it said the rising "flare" originated from the surface or horizon, 13,700 ft below Flight 800. Once again, most of the relevant witness reports were shown to support the missile theory.
Of the 755 FBI witness reports, not all witnesses reported seeing an
upward streaking "flare." The FBI interviewed anyone who saw or heard
anything possibly related to the crash. For most witnesses, their
attention was drawn to the crash only after the initial events.
These witnesses typically only reported falling fire. Many witnesses only
reported hearing loud booms. Witnesses who saw something streaking up from
the surface before there were any explosions in the sky saw early
events, and those witnesses are a subset of the entire 755-witness-report
database. The following is a selection of FBI witnesses who appear to see
early events suggesting a missile launch and/or who report unusual
activity in the area that might be related to military activity.
Analysis of FBI Witness Sketches
FBI Witness 8: "saw a red object flying upward. ... described the object as a flare ... was actually much bigger than any flare he had ever seen. As the 'flare' lifted into the sky he next saw a big explosion of a large red color."
Witness 9: "saw a steak of light, orange light come up from the bay or the ocean and head straight up or at a slight one o'clock angle. The light was bigger than a flare and it lasted approximately ten seconds. ... lost sight of the light and did not see or hear any subsequent explosion." Witness 9 is one of several witnesses who saw a streak of light that did not end in a large explosive event, and was thus apparently not associated with the Flight 800 crash. Such accounts suggest that several rockets may have been fired in the area during the day.
Witness 10: "observed an eastbound, low flying red and white Piper airplane, that had either 'NB' or 'NG' [perhaps for "National Guard"?] markings on it ... flying approximately one hundred feet off the water and approximately two hundred feet away from the shoreline. ... After the explosion the aircraft immediately 'banked hard over Zachs Bay' and ... turned around heading west [away from the crash]."
Witness 29: "saw a flare going up and then saw white smoke. He said he thought it was just a boat sending up a flare and did not pay much attention to it. ...10 - 15 minutes prior to the flare there was a small white airplane with a blue strip toward the tail circling ... for approximately 15 minutes. ... [assumed] a boat lit a flare because that small plane went down. ...the small plane was unusually low, approximately 100 feet off the water, circling over the ocean and the bay."
Witness 32: was above Flight 800 aboard USAir Flight 217 and "observed a light which appeared to be a 'flare' and looked like the shooting of an unexploded fireball into the air. It was moving right to left [F800 would move left to right from witness's airborne position] ... then observed an initial small explosion [that] turned into a large explosion."
Witness 33: "observed a jet traveling east and another jet traveling west towards each other. ... observed a third smaller plane ... they were close to each other and she thought this unusual. The jet traveling east began to climb and was spewing white exhaust. [Witness] thinks it is unusual that she has heard nothing about the other planes in the media." Ten minutes later Witness 33 saw the Flight 800 crash. Such radical aircraft activity might suggest a military exercise.
Witness 34: "saw what he thought was a shooting star [that] was more like a bottle-rocket with a dull orange glow to it ... the glow moved faster than an aircraft ...only observed the light it emitted, due to the speed of the object." May have seen rocket unrelated to the crash.
Witness 36: "saw an orange color flash, similar to a roman candle or rocket, flash by. ... came from the approximate direction of the northwest and was heading toward the southeast [90 degrees opposed to the flight path of Flight 800]. The flash streaked across the Bay. ... It could have been a firework or rocket." Did not report seeing crash.
Witness 39: "heard an extremely loud report coming from the rear of her property and a large 'puff' of black smoke which blew from west to east and over and enveloping her house and others. ...she never looked skyward." Witness 39 lives near a large uninhabited and overgrown area . While there may be better explanations, this account would be consistent with the nearby property having been utilized as a launch site for a small man-portable missile. Or perhaps the witnessed loud noise and subsequent cloud of smoke over the houses was something that fell to that locaiton.
Witness 40: "observed a bright white object traveling very quickly across the sky ... moving toward the East River. The object traveled horizontally and slightly upwards across the sky." Witness 40 lives in New York City and the observed anomalous aircraft is probably not related to the crash other than suggesting widespread military activity.
Witness 41: "observed what he described as a reddish colored streak ... going from the ground towards the point of the explosion." Witness 41 said the streak rising from the ground looked like "a flare."
Witness 43: "observed a small white trainer-type plane flying extremely low, approximately 50 - 60 feet above Bellport Bay ... had never seen a plane flying so low."
Witness 59: "observed a National Guard aircraft flying ... from west to east about three miles out [to sea] ... then saw an intense bright light in the sky ... the white glow then descended." The Coast Guard also first stated that the National Guard was offshore, but the official story quickly became that no NG aircraft were offshore before the crash.
Witness 63: "observed an airplane off to his left flying in an eastbound direction ... observed a bright flash of white light on the rear portion of the plane ... similar to firework ... airplane appeared to be flying through the white flash [suggests an external blast] ...[then] airplane dipped ...before... bursting into flames."
Witness 73: "observed an aircraft climbing in the sky ... keeping her eyes on the aircraft, she observed a 'red streak' moving up from the ground toward the aircraft at approximately a 45 degree angle. The 'red streak' was leaving a light gray colored smoke trail. ...[The streak] closed in from behind the aircraft, rose above the path of the aircraft, then dropped down and intercepted the aircraft. ...[she] believed that she witnessed a missile ... fired from a boat which was located somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean."
Witness 80: "saw what he described as an orange flare, which appeared to be launched from the beach or beyond which went straight up then suddenly he saw a large red glow which he described as an 'explosion.'"
Witness 82: "saw a flare shoot from the water. The flare went up in a concave arch. The flare had a pink flame at first which turned into an orange flame ... [The flare] turned into a large ball of orange fire."
Witness 84: "observed a flare heading up into the sky. ...flare was orange and went up into the air at about the same speed as a firework. ...[it flew] further out toward the ocean ... [then] burst into a large fireball. "
Witness 86: "observed two orange streaks ascending in a curved path. ... streaks were bigger and brighter than ordinary boat flares and left long trails [behind them] to the water. ...he lost sight of the flares when they appeared to die out. ...did not observe any visible explosion in the sky." One of many accounts suggesting missiles that did not hit a jet, as one might see during military exercises in a littoral environment.
Witness 88: "observed what he thought was a firework ascending into the sky. ...this object which was ascending left a wispy white smoke trail. ...observed an airplane come into the field of view. ...the bright red object ran into the airplane and upon doing so both ... exploded into a huge plume of flame."
Witness 90: "saw a red fire ascending... It ascended to 12 o'clock and she saw an orange/yellowish light which continued to get bigger... Light began to descend and burst into massive flames."
Witness 92: "observed a small white airplane [that] kept circling the park and descended to a height of just a few hundred feet over the beach. ... 15-20 minutes later ... observed what she described as a flare ascending from east to west [opposite to F800's path] and outward towards the ocean. ...flare reached a point in the sky where it appeared to die out. ...[then] she saw a huge fireball in the sky [that] dropped towards the water."
Witness 93: observed an extremely odd ship that was "Riding very low in water, lumbering along, appearing to 'plow' through the water due to weight and blunt bow." Mystery ship had a "low 'squatty' cabin." Tends to fit a description of a littoral missile platform similar to the Arsenal Ship project.
Witness 96: observed "a flare appear in the Atlantic Ocean ... she thought this flare originated from the surf [ocean] ... described the flare as having an orange tip with a white trail of smoke. ...flare went straight up ... then observed a red ball near the flare ... red ball continued to grow and then began to fall."
Witness 102: was on Route 27 "when a large firework exploded in the sky. ...described the burst as a bright ball, bluish and silver that threw blue and white sparks in all directions. ...did not see any other fireworks or anything else in the sky that night."
Witness 104: saw "a large firework" that "shot trails of green and white." Was a passenger in car with witness 102.
Witness 105: observed "a large green and yellow firework ... the burst was green and yellow." Passenger in car with witnesses 102 & 104. These last three witnesses were looking away from the ocean when they saw a fireworks-like burst. It may have been actual fireworks, or perhaps indicative of widespread military exercise.
Witness 107: "observed what he believed to be a flare ... [the] flare seemed to hit the object [Flight 800] ... giving off an orange and red glow." Then saw explosions and fire that fell to the water.
Witness 108: "saw what appeared to be a flare rise up ... orange/pink in color and was moving away from [witness] in a south/southeasterly direction [F800 traveled a northeast course] rising at a 65 degree angle at a steady speed. ...flare left behind a smoke trail which was bluish/gray in color ... streaming out from behind flare. ...flare rose upward and then arced downward. ...the flare descended from the arc for approximately one second and exploded into an orange ball ... which fell."
Witness 117: "noticed a twin engine aircraft, she believed to be an Apache, pass overhead heading in a westerly direction following the shoreline. ...later noticed a flare take off from the ocean. ...flare ascended from the ocean, from what [she] assumed to be a boat, and initially traveled straight up ...[then] the flare's flame seemed to grow in size and ... fall into the ocean."
Witness 128: "observed a glow of fire ascend to the sky ... [Also saw] white male ... at the fishing dock. He had snorkeling gear and was going into the water. The man told [witness] that he had to go snorkeling because 'today is the day.'"
Witness 129 & 643: observed "a flare to the southeast. It first appeared to him at eye level and continued to rise upward from that point, at a fast rate of speed. It rose to a certain point and appeared then to curve southeast and slightly downward. He then saw a small flash or explosion and then a large explosion or fireball [that] descended to the ocean."
Witness 135: "saw a reddish 'flare,' already off the surface moving upward in an east to west direction [F800 was on west to east path] with a slight arch. After approximately 5 seconds or less he saw a wide illumination like a firework. He saw wreckage (orange-red) fall."
Witness 144: "noticed a plane in the sky traveling right to left ... then saw an object angle to the right with a bright orange glow with a white streak behind it. ...then lost sight of the streak ...described this streak as 'taking off like a rocket'. She thought at first that she saw fireworks, but then changed her mind and said 'no way, it was a missile'. ...[then] she saw a bright orange fireball ...[that] feel straight down."
Witness 145: "saw a plane and noticed an object spiraling towards the plane. The object, which she saw for about one second, had a glow at the end of it and a grey/white smoke trail. ...she saw the object hit the plane."
Witness 147: "observed a flare shoot upward from the water, ascend with a bright orange-red glow skyward and at its apex, burst into numerous orange red flames. ...her boyfriend, also watched the flares ascend. ...[then] the flare descended into numerous red flames.
Witness 150: "noticed an unusual object traveling at high speed from north to south [F800 traveled from south to north]. ...described the object as cylindrical, tubular and bullet shaped. Having no apparent wings, except perhaps, a small vertical shape at the rear" "moved more quickly than any plane" "almost flat trajectory."
Witness 151: "described what he thought was a flare ... described the flare as a white wispy trail that went straight up. ...he followed the flare for about five seconds, when the flare turned into an orange burst. ...he did not see anything fall to the water." One of many witnesses who saw a rocket yet nothing falling to the water.
Witness 157: "noticed a red flare or firework trailing white smoke ascending ... The flare was angling east-southeast. ...seven (7) to ten (10) seconds later, he observed a large fireball erupt ... Before the explosion in the sky, he observed a plane in the area of the flare. After the explosion, he could no longer see the plane."
Witness 158: "observed double orange flares streak upward and explode into a large orange fireball. She states the flares were slanted, arcing and trailed by gray smoke. ...also reports a strong order of diesel fuel."
Witness 159: "observed an orange/white glow diminishing in size as it moved away from him. Glow was rising skyward from southwest of is position. He thought it was a flare or fireworks from the beach. At top of trajectory he observed a whitish glow and an object dropped into the ocean, on fire." 159 appears to be witness Tom Dougherty.
Witness 166: "noticed a large commercial plane flying east ...[then] noticed something ascending ... looked like white, yellow fire, trailed by black smoke ... It ascended in a straight line at an angle of seven to ten degrees away from a vertical ninety degree ... believed it was from the water ... concluded that he had seen a missile. [Witness] stated he was in the Polish army in 1974 and has experience with missiles ... opined that this was a medium size missile which would have required three experienced people to operate."
Witness 168b: "saw an upward white smoke trail then a red flash that he thought was a flare."
Witness 174: "saw a skyrocket type object streak up into the night sky ... had an orange contrail ... few seconds later, after the skyrocket contrail disappeared, [witness] saw a large orange fireball." See Witness 174's sketch animated.
Witness 175: "observed a flare going straight up, but he was unclear as to whether it had originated from land or water. ...observed the flare turn into a large red and orange flaming object or 'fireball.' ...the fireball slowly fell toward the sea."
Witness 178: "saw what looked like a shooting star. He stated that the 'star' seemed to come from Moriches Inlet ... described the 'star' as a reddish/orange streak that was thicker in the front and thin in the tail ... the 'star' was rising ... [then] he observed a large orange/yellow fireball."
Witness 179: "she observed an object ... which looked like a flare or a firework going up ... observed the object climb in an erratic fashion for about five seconds at which point she noticed an explosion ...[that] dropped down."
Witness 184: "saw a yellow/orange small firework going up in the air over the ocean. ... then saw a big explosion in the sky followed by a larger fireball."
Witness 185: "was facing south, watching a star. To the right of the star, a 'yellowy-orange' light, 'all glowing', was coming up, it arced, from the right of the star going left. It went in front of the star and then exploded like a big bright light." Witness 185 then saw something bright orange falling. About the upward streaking light, "She said it was like fireworks, it rose in a matter of seconds. ... She would say it came from the ocean." Seeing only points of light, one can tell witness 185 was in fact 30-40 miles from the crash (aircraft lights can be seen at 50 miles, and a missile's exhaust plume should be brighter). This account is important, since at such a distance and at dusk all visual information except luminosity would be eliminated. The results of this "luminosity-only test" indicates that there were two luminous entities in the sky and one moved much faster than the other. The fast-moving entity also appears to have tracked the other and exploded near it. Account 185 provides an important visual test (luminous-entities only), and the test results appear to support the case for a missile shoot down.
Witness 186: "a soft-edged, pinkish-red flame was observed ascending in the sky. ...[later] a glowing red mass was observed at water level [probably fire on the water]. ... Described the object that was ascending as ... traveling at a high rate of speed. ... A couple days prior to the crash, an unusual Styrofoam cooler was observed washing in and out of the surf. Shards of a mirror were glued onto the outside of the cooler. A one-two yard string was tied to the inside of the cooler and ran through a hole in the lid. Subsequent to the crash, four men, one in uniform with red lapels, picked up the cooler and left in a grey van." Underlines added. Who would construct such an odd thing, and for what purpose? Could a buoyant Styrofoam box with mirrors on the outside serve as a low-budget radar-reflector for testing the acuity of underwater radar systems or marking a boundary? Was this odd item such a device that broke free from a tether? New York Times (3/12/97) reported that a submarine involved in maneuvers was "near the flight path."
Witness 188: "saw a white-colored flare rise up into the sky. ...flare suddenly exploded into a fireball which ... fell into the ocean."
Witness 190: "observed something go up in the air ... believed to be some sort of fireworks. Several seconds later he saw an orange fireball [that] descended from the sky. ... When [witness] looked back up in the sky where he had seen the first event, he saw a big ball of white smoke." Many witnesses note the flare and the first blast left white smoke. Burnt jet fuel always produces black smoke, solid-rocket fuels and high explosive detonations usually produce white smoke.
Witness 196: "saw three orange lights shoot out from the horizon in quick succession. ...believed that this was more than just a flare or firework." Witness saw no explosions. Appears to have seen other projectiles not directly associated with the crash.
Witness 199: "saw an orange elongated mass shoot straight up from the horizon. ...an orange glow seemed to follow it ... The object went straight up into the sky for about two seconds, reached its apex, and then broke apart. ...did not observe any fire ball." Witness estimates the event was seen at 8:15, which was 15 minutes before the crash. Appears to be another witness to other pyrotechnic activity.
Witness 200: "stated that somebody on the dock said, 'Look, a flare.' ...observed a small pale red/pink dot [about] the size of an eraser going up in the sky. ...The dot was followed by a thin, very white trail of smoke, which was slightly wider than the dot. ...The dot traveled a path shaped like a candy cane: straight up, then curving at the top ...As the dot started to come down, it exploded."
Witness 201: "at approximately 8:00 pm [30 minutes before crash], observed for 5 - 7 seconds an object 7,000 - 10,000 feet in the sky, moving from the west in a south-east direction. [Witness] advised this object appeared to be an airplane similar in appearance to a space shuttle. [Witness] advised this object was trailing white smoke." Sounds like an unconventional aircraft, perhaps a military asset.
Witness 207: "noticed an explosion in the sky ... saw black smoke and flames fall ... He noticed a vapor line from the ocean up to the sky, like a firework. He saw this vapor line after the initial blast ... thought it could have come from the ground or possibly the horizon. ... [The witness, who] is a former EOD in the Marine Corp, stated the initial colors of the explosion were white, yellow and orange and that it reminded him of napalm or the crack of a bomb." FBI witnesses routinely described the first explosion as bright white, which differs from the red-orange of a fuel blast, which followed the first blast.
Witness 217: "was sitting ... with a friend [who] mentioned to [witness] that a boat must be in distress because a flare had been shot up. [Witness] described the flare as a small reddish-orange ball with a whitish flash around it. ... only observed the reddish-orange ball for two to three seconds ... then there was an explosion."
Witness 218: "stated that it looked as though two propane tanks had caught fire and were streaking up from the water or coast line ... The objects had an orange and purple tail of flame. ...There was then a blue and dark purple flash. Something came off the top of the plane followed by flame. Then another part dropped off. The rest of the plane seemed to coast a little further. ...There were orange and yellow flames and black smoke coming from the object as it fell."
Witness 220: "saw a reddish flare in the sky ... It then burst into a small fireball. It looked like the puff associated fireworks. A larger fireball erupted off the smaller one."
Witness 221: "looked up to see a large commercial jet ... [then] saw a streak of light travel up from the water into the sky. [Witness] described the streak of light as though it was a rocket or like a shooting star only going upward. ...did not watch the light because his attention was drawn [away by wife] ... [then he] saw a flash of light..."
Witness 223: observed "a column of rising orange red flame that was quite big ... then went away in what [witness] described as faint sparkles similar to a roman candle drifting down. ...the positive inclination of the burning orange/red column was almost straight..."
Witness 224: "saw something dark rise from lower left to being above the island ... He then saw a yellow orange flare-like thing that exploded..." See Witness 224's sketch animated.
Witness 226: "noticed a red flame streak towards the sky. The flame then curved right and proceeded downward toward the water before finally splitting into two balls of fire. [Witness] stated that the bright flame was like a flare being launched. It had a head, followed by a small tail, and its path was defined by a narrow trail of smoke."
Witness 231: observed "a fireworks rocket ascending ... At the point where the 'rocket' was last seen, [witness] saw an orange fireball erupt and fall to the horizon. ...[witness] is a Police Officer..."
Witness 233: "noticed a flare off in the distance, rising into the air. [Witness] originally observed the flare approximately halfway up in its flight. She described it as moving steadily straight up and described as orange with a short reddish-orange smoke trail. ...then observed the flare pause, then brightly pulse in a small concentrated area. ...described the flare as being a steady glow and rose at a steady, remarkable pace. ...stated that within two seconds of the pulse she observed a large object seemingly stopping its forward momentum while igniting into a fireball, then breaking into two large pieces [that fell] downward."
Witness 234: "was flying private Cessna with his friend when they witnessed the explosion of TWA Flight 800. ...described observing a 'bright stripe of light', which 'looked like an S' a few seconds prior to witnessing a fireball. ...was unable to tell whether the 'bright stripe of light' was ascending or descending." Flight 800's path is not indicated by radar to have had a trajectory that would've "looked like an S."
Witness 235: "at approximately 8:20 PM [10 minutes before crash] ... saw two silver cylindrical objects traveling 'very high up' across the sky ... The larger of the two objects traveled from west to east ... The smaller object traveled from west to the southwest, possibly splintering off the larger object. Both objects left vapor trails." Witness does not report seeing the crash -- appears to be one of many who saw rockets not related to the crash.
Witness 237: "observed a small reddish-orange round dot rise from the water, reaching its apex, making a small arch, falling a short distance, then disappearing. [Witness] observed no explosion, noise, or trail of smoke. [Witness] believes this object to be a flare."
Witness 239: "saw a flash of light, and when he turned, he saw a red-orange color flame going up in the sky in a southeast direction [90 degrees to F800's flight path]. [Witness] assumed it was a flare from a boat although he believed it looked larger. [Witness] added the projectile rose ... at a very high arch and at its apex, separated into 2 reddish-orange balls."
Witness 241 & 242: "observed a bright white light arching into the sky ... it appeared to her to be emanating from Westhampton Beach, at an angle not exactly vertical, and travel over the ocean [approx.90 degrees to F800's flight path]. At the time she thought it was a firework. This light reached high into the sky ... At its apex ... appeared to fizzle out, then moments later, a huge explosion occurred, consisting of a bright oblong wall of flames."
Witness 243a: "had gone crabbing with about 20 other people ... when a young boy ... noticed something that appeared to be a flare flying up into the air ... called the group's attention to this object as it flew into the air. This flying object looked like it came up from land ... and took about four or five seconds before hitting the airplane. The smoke, which trailed this object, was whitish in color and the band of smoke was narrow. It looked like a flare or Roman candle flying into the air. The object flew at an angle into the air and neither it, nor its impact with the plane, made any noise."
Witness 243b: "observed an object, reddish/orange in color, ascending into the sky ... The sighting lasted 3 to 4 seconds ... then saw an explosion."
Witness 248: "heard series of booms which shook the house. ...[looked out to see] pieces engulfed in flame fall out of sky into ocean ... At about the same time the pieces were falling from the sky there was a helicopter hovering over the ocean about five miles from where the pieces had fallen. The helicopter had a searchlight which was shining toward the water. The helicopter hovered briefly and then headed west out of sight. ...described the helicopter as being like the 'big green Army ones.'"
Witness 249: "saw a definite white clear trail of smoke going straight from the ground to the sky a few minutes before 8 p.m. [30 minutes before F800 crash] ...stated that she saw an object at the top of the smoke trail that seemed to be leading the smoke trail upward. [Witness] stated that it was still daylight at this time."
Witness 250: saw "a yellow explosion with red and purple shooting out from the center ... in the light of the explosion he observed a vapor trail. The trail appeared gray, and seemed to be consistent in thickness and color. ... described the path and direction of the trail as being straight up from the ground." Witness estimates those events happen at 8:15, crash was at 8:30. Not clear if this event was directly related to the crash or an account of other pyrotechnic events witnessed.
Witness 254: "observed ... a very large indistinguishable ball of fire. This 'burst of fire' began falling and split into two pieces ... The fires hit the water and [witness] then observed a white-hot colored dot at about the same location as the original fireball. For about five seconds, the dot appeared to be suspended in the sky. The dot grew slightly larger and its intensity became brighter. The light went out in a manner similar to a propane gas light." What was the residual luminosity witness 254 saw? It sounds like some kind of illumination pyrotechnic, several witness have described seeing an intense shining white light.
Witness 260: "saw what appeared to be a flare rising into the sky ... whitish/yellow in color ... it appeared to him that the flare was launched from a position off-shore and not from any beach area. He watched the flare move upward in the sky to a point where the flare seemed to lose energy and arc and began to descend, he observed a fireball somewhat above where he last saw the flare." Appears to be a pyrotechnic event not directly related to the crash.
Witness 261: "saw a red navigator light from an airplane in the distance. [Witness] then saw an orange firework, with a tail in the air southwest of him. The firework traveled up, then arched down before lost sight of it. Seconds later [witness] saw a second and third fire work in the sky simultaneously. Both were orange with tails and they traveled in the same arching pattern of the first firework. Approximately 30 seconds later [witness] heard a rumble and saw ... smoke stretch down to the horizon."
Witness 266: "noticed a very distinct line of black smoke rise up from the water. A second later she noticed a cloud of white smoke, followed by a big glowing red circle of fire rise up further into the atmosphere and came right down."
Witness 267: "observed a blue flash that reminded him of an aerial firework, explode in the sky, north-northeast of his residence. The blue flash disappeared within a few minutes." This explosive event appears to be far removed from the crash, but along with many accounts of other pyrotechnic events suggests military maneuvers were in the area.
Witness 271: "recalls seeing a flare-like light rush up into the sky. ...The flare built up and then pieces of fire fell. ...believed it was a fire work that failed to function."
Witness 275: "observed an orange colored 'arc' moving upward ... The arch continued to travel upwards and appeared to bend to the left a little at the end. Then the arc ... ended in a large explosion ...[Witness] is sure that what she saw was a missile, based on what she has seen in television and the movies."
Witness 276: "noticed a flare like object traveling upward from a north to south direction [roughly 90 degrees to F800 flight path]. She then saw a bright orange fireball in the sky ... the fireball then fell to the ocean, followed by black smoke."
Witness 277: "saw what looked like a flare shooting into the sky ... there was a red burst and then a yellow ball falling from the sky.
Witness 279: "saw large fireball in the sky ... called the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to report what they saw, stating it appeared as though a plane was in trouble. The USCG responded stating the military was conducting pyrotechnic exercises and would this have been what they saw?"
Witness 281: "observed a barge with lights approximately one mile east of the Moriches Inlet at approximately 7:00 pm. [Witness] felt this was unusual for a barge this size to be so close to the beach." Non-military vessels could be associated with military activities. As the Press-Enterprise (07/17/98) reported: "A Navy captain assigned to the Pentagon told an Atlantic Fleet watch officer about 24 hours after the crash to keep the names of three merchant ships that could have been near Flight 800 'in-house Navy for the time being.' The directive was noted in Atlantic Fleet logs released under a Freedom of Information Act request."
Witness 286: "noticed a flare ascending ... described the object he saw as a skyrocket ... [Witness] said he followed the flare for 10-15 seconds and then saw an explosion. ...then saw the plane explode but he did not see it crash in the water."
Witness 287: "noticed a firework ascending into the air ... after watching the firework for a few seconds saw an explosion."
Witness 289: "saw a red flare ascending into the air before he saw an explosion. ... After the explosion [witness] saw the plane go over the horizon. "
Witness 305: "observed what appeared to be a thin stream of orange flame ... When she first saw the orange stream, which looked like a 'firework,' it came straight up out of the water. ...did advise that if she went back to the restaurant for interview, she would be able to exactly duplicate what she saw." There's no indication that the follow-up interview suggested ever took place.
Witness 313: saw falling fire, then "advised that [redacted] immediately called the Coast Guard and was informed that the Air National Guard were testing bombs in the area." Also see witness 279 and 525b.
Witness 318: "was sitting at a table facing south...when he observed a small orange ball or flame, moving directly away from him [southbound]. [Witness] walked over to the middle of the deck, and saw the flare get bigger as it went down. There was an explosion, and an object broke into two pieces and spiraled down toward the horizon."
Witness 319: saw what she initially thought was a boat flare. She saw the flare when it was already at a midpoint in the sky. ... She did not see where the flare originated from, but thought it was as close as the bay. The flare continued ascending for about three seconds, but [witness] too her eyes off of it ... The flare was red-orange in color with white in the middle [exactly as 649 describes it], elongated in shape like a baseball bat, but more squat. ... The light seemed to be moving away from her, as if further south. As the flare ascended, it suddenly turned a deeper orange, and got larger, but not exactly round in shape. ... Slowly, the entire body of fire descended...
Witness 320: saw a red streak, which was comprised of red and orange flames and resembled a plant called a cattail. The streak was thick and trailed white smoke. ... Almost immediately she saw a second streak, which resembled the first. She thought the streaks were flares or fireworks but something did not seem right.
Witness 326: was traveling with his daughter...and remarked to her to look at the firework. [Witness saw a red glowing object ascending from the tree tops. ... Suddenly, the glow burst into a larger red glowing ball.
Witness 334: "observed a white smoke trail ascending through the sky culminating in a bright orange fire ball. ... noted that the smoke trail seemed to start off slowly, but gained momentum and speed before evolving into a fireball." Report also notes a "white plane that She observed in the area doing loops several minutes prior to her observation of the smoke trail."
Witness 335: "While at the beach, [witness] noticed an unusual ship in the water off the coast. ...unusual in that it had a smoke stack in the middle and a high front and high back. ...The ship appeared to be sinking because the bow of the ship appeared unusually high. [Witness] could not recall ever seeing that ship off the shore by Great Gun Park." After the witness saw a "flare," the FBI report notes: "[Witness] believed that the flare may have been a distress flare from the boat observed earlier which appeared to be sinking." Was it a sinking ship or perhaps a submersible ship?
Witness 337: saw an "ultralight aircraft [that] was in the vicinity of East Moriches and heading west at the time of the explosion." Unmanned aerial vehicles look like untralights. In all, there are numerous accounts of unusual aircraft, aircraft activity, and ships.
Witness 340: "noticed a huge ball of fire west of her plane. ... At approximately the same time She observed two (2) dark green helicopters flying between USAIR flight 217 and the ball of fire. The helicopters appeared to be flying in a circular pattern." A lot of aircraft seen flying in circles that day.
Witness 341: "was in a window seat on the right side of USAIR FLIGHT 217 (7/17/96) when he saw what he thought to be a boat on the ocean below his plane. ...the boat was going west at a speed which made 'foam come out of the back of the boat.' ... He then turned back to the window and saw something red in the same location as the boat. He did not know what this red thing was in front of him but he watched it for approximately fifteen seconds and then it exploded." The red thing that exploded may have been a missile that came from the boat.
Witness 353: "saw what looked like a rocket rise ... appeared to be like a rocket used in fireworks ... the rocket followed an arched path and then She saw an explosion..."
Witness 354: "noticed a flare out over the ocean fly into the sky ... next saw an orange fireball explode."
Witness 358: "observed what appeared to be a flare ... [that] turned into a wide flame that descended. ... Approximately 20 minutes prior to the explosion [witness] observed a large orange-rust colored boat, 250-300 feet in length with large arm like structures on its rear, south of Moriches Inlet. [Witness] thought this was unusual because large commercial fishing boats are rarely that close to the inlet."
Witness 359: "saw what appeared to be a boat flare shoot straight up into the sky from the horizon beyond Dune Road, [witness] knew that it originated from the ocean. ...The flare ascended for what [witness] estimated to be about fifteen seconds. It then burst into a yellow flash [that] descended ... then burst again into a huge fireball ... about twenty times the size of the yellow flash."
Witness 361: "noticed a reddish/pink flare ascending upward into the sky. ...This flare then exploded into a huge ball of fire which fell from the sky."
Witness 364: "saw a red streak rise from the horizon. He thought it was fireworks being fired from Smith Point Beach over the ocean. ...It ascended at a slight angle to the right [from vertical], very high and then curved downward slightly and then leveled off and appeared to explode..."
Witness 367: "noticed a streak in the south east arching toward the sky which She thought was a flare. ...She believe this 'flare' emanated either from the bay of from the Westhampton Beach area. [Then] saw an explosion..."
Witness 369: "observed a red streak ... west bound [F800 was east bound] ... observed the streak for about three to four seconds and then saw red flames."
Witness 371: observed "a red arc which at that time he believed to be a red distress flare... stated that he actually recalled saying look itís a boat flare and at that point [redacted] said no its fireworks out on Long Island. [Witness] stated that this was happening while watching this thing going up from Long Island, and when it reached a certain point in the evening sky there came an orange explosion and at that point [witness] stated that he felt he was neither looking at a boat flare or fireworks." Witness then saw fire falling to the water. NTSB report includes this witness's sketch.
Witness 372: observed "a tube of reddish/orange fire appeared to go straight up into the sky. It took off like the space shuttle."
Witness 374: "saw a thin plume of flame rising up from the horizon ... approximately thirty seconds later he saw a second plume of flame approximately one-half the height of the first."
Witness 376: was with 374 and also saw "a thin red flash to the Southeast of his home. The flame was narrow and rose upward... Five to ten seconds later, he saw a second flash approximately one half the height of the first. [Later he saw] columns of black smoke rising from the horizon."
Witness 378: "reported that at approximately 8:20 PM ... he was in a car traveling towards the Shinnecock Canal when he observed a gray military aircraft flying overhead South towards the water."
Witness 379 & 380: "saw an orange/reddish streak traveling upwards and arcing off in the air. The [redacted] stated that they saw an explosion which looked like a waterfall... They could not determine if the streak originated from either land or water."
Witness 385 & 386: were in a boat when they saw "a bright glow, which was described as orangey-red and perfectly round... It seemed like it came off the horizon... At first they thought it might have been a flare, but realized that it was too huge. It traveled diagonally at an approximate 70 degree angle going in a westerly direction [F800 traveled in an easterly direction]. The object rose in the sky for approximately six (6) seconds, leaving a white smoke trail in its wake. It then disappeared from sight for approximately Ĺ second. After that time, without a sound of an explosion, a large oval ball of fire appeared just above the area where the object was last seen. ... [then] the ball of fire came straight down."
Witness 391: "saw a bright reddish orange light (like lightening streak) going straight up to the south. The streak wasn't a straight line, it was in a zig zag pattern. Her husband  then saw a big burst of light."
Witness 393: "saw a red and orange light traveling up from the ground of the ocean. ...thought it was a flare but decided it was too big to be a flare. ... did not hear or see any explosion." Sounds like this "flare" did not strike a jet.
Witness 396: "saw two red streaks, very vivid in color, ascend ... assumed it was fireworks."
Witness 399: "heard a loud 'swoosh' going over the house. [witness] related that the swoosh sounded like a large rocket going over the house."
Witness 409b & 607: "saw a light grayish streak/line ascending into the sky over the ocean [at an] almost vertical angle. The streak was fine, like a pencil line ... the line then disappeared ... then observed a bright white light in the sky in the area where the streak disappeared. The light appeared one second after the streak disappeared. ...The light ... began to slowly descend..."
Witness 411 & 412: "observed a reddish glowing flare streak skyward from due east but could not tell if it was from land or water. Flare was tight, corkscrew shaped with and even but fast speed. They did not see what flare struck, but it exploded in air into a large orange fireball. Two large flaming chunks of debris fell from the fireball. ... They also recall a light, low flying, single engine plane with a maroon stripe low on the beach about fifteen (15) minutes prior to flare and explosion incident."
Witness 415 & 416: "saw a sparkly thing go up into the sky...  said he saw a sparkly thing go up and then a bigger sparkly thing come down."
Witness 422 & 423: "observed a low flying airplane. The airplane was approximately 25 feet above the ground. It was observed flying erratically, with wings dipping from side to side.  stated that it was a fixed wing airplane ... with landing gear down. They lost sight of the airplane behind the house line and approximately after one minute pass they observed an orange glow in the sky." Two of many witness accounts of unusual aircraft activity in the area before the crash.
Witness 429: "observed a brilliant red flare commencing above the horizon moving in a straight line upward towards the sky. The flare then exploded into a brilliant red ball. Approximately a half second later another explosion occurred directly under the first explosion."
Witness 432: "saw a trail of fire going up in the sky. ...thought it was some kind of flare or firework. ...described the flare as being a bright orange and red, that went straight up into the sky."
Witness 434: "observed a white light ... moving north to south [F800 moved south to north]. ...stated that the white light was moving at a high rate of speed. He then saw a bright golden explosion..."
Witness 435 & 436: saw a "'flare' rise up directly in front of her...  saw was appeared to be a 'flare.'  and  said that the 'flare' went straight up into the sky and then curved before they lost sight of it. The flare looked like a red stream that got thinner as it rose through the sky."
Witness 443: "observed a grayish colored plane flying low with two (2) red strips on it. She observed a smaller plane flying higher than the big plane. ... no more than two (2) minutes later, heard one large explosion, followed by a few smaller explosions."
Witness 463: saw a "smoke trail ... described the smoke trail to be a well formed line of white smoke that looked as if it started from land. [Then] saw three explosions."
Witness 478: "observed a flare ascending ... that traveled [sic] at a 10:00 [10 o'clock] angle (from perpendicular) from his position and increasing in brightness. Approximately one minute following his flare observation, [witness] saw two large sections descending towards the ocean..."
Witness 484: "observed a lighted object in the sky ... observed the object traveling in a arc from her lower right to upper left. Object disappeared for approximately one second and then [witness] observed a large explosion in the same area where the object disappeared."
Witness 485: "witnessed what appeared to be a 'flare' rise above the horizon over the water. This flare was 'red-orange' in color and initiated from the east in an upward diagonal trajectory. Flare disappeared and a second later a 'wide area' of the sky was filled with 'something' descending on fire resembling a 'white bright star.'"
Witness 491: "observed a red light moving up into the air. ... He stated that this red flare was moving in an irregular type arc. He felt this red flare was trying to follow something. ... The red flare then suddenly turned into a huge ball of flame and fell in two pieces."
Witness 492: "observed a reddish/orange object in the sky ... The object moved to the south [F800 moved to the north] and when it was about 45 degrees above the horizon it burst into a larger fire."
Witness 493b: "saw a firework/rocket go up ... the rocket was orange in color and had fire coming from its tail. He realized it was not a firework but a rocket."
Witness 496: "saw what appeared to be a flare rising through the sky. ... The flare had an orange tail and was traveling south to southwest [F800 traveled to the northeast]. She watched the 'flare' rise through the air and then come down a little before it exploded. ...did not see a plane ...[but] realized that a plane had exploded when She saw the plane break into two pieces as it fell." Notice that the plane broke into two after the flare was seen, contrary to the official witness explanation which purports that the breaking in two preceded a rocket-like rising of the rear section. The pattern of a flare seen, then something large breaks into two is common throughout the FBI witness accounts.
Witness 497: "observed what appeared to be a red flare ... The direction of the flare-like object (FLO) was due south [the direction of F800 was northeast] ... The FLO's path was straight up for approximately three (3) seconds and at a high rate of speed and terminated in a bright white explosion ... After the explosion, [witness] described a sheet of flames that fell towards the water..."
Witness 500: "observed what he described as a firework launch up into the air... This 'firework', which [witness] further described as a bright yellowish/orange flame, reached its peak and then began to descend almost towards him, but at a slight left to right direction ... then observed an explosion ... which then 'dripped' downward."
Witness 502b: "noticed a bright light flare type pattern shoot up into the sky from the waters ... [then] there was a big fiery colored explosion that took an oval shape and then ascended into a column form, which fell straight down into the water."
Witness 503: "saw a red light, like a boat flare, with a smokey white stream following it, shoot up from the horizon. ... The red flare went straight up into the sky for about two or three seconds. Suddenly, the red flare expanded into a much larger fireball ... Then a red flame funneled down from the fireball, and descended downward when a second, much larger fireball erupted."
Witness 506: "saw what he believed to be fireworks emanating from Moriches Bay. He describes the firework appeared to be [sic] orange and ascending slightly to the 12 o'clock position. ...the flare-like object began to descend and then turned into a bright red/orange fireball which plummeted into the sea..."
Witness 507: "advised She and her husband, [redacted] were in a boat with the [redacted] when [redacted] noted a flare go straight up and then observed an explosion."
Witness 508: "observed an orange thing streak toward a dark object for about ten seconds. The orange streak approached from behind and on a downward angle and continued on until an explosion occurred."
Witness 521: saw what "appeared to be a flare, round and orangy-red in color. It left a smoke trail of the same color, density and thickness in its wake that disappeared as the object continued to ascend. It rose from the southeast from their position and arched slightly at an approximate 70 degree angle while it made the ascent from east to west [F800 traveled from west to east]. The object traveled for approximately 3 to 5 seconds until it erupted into a ball of fire. "
Witness 525b: "observed a 'wavering orange-yellow glowing ball' possibly trailed by white smoke ... This object, which had the characteristics of a flare, rose and fell (like an arc) before hitting the plane. A huge explosion ensued. The plane crashed to the water beyond the barrier islands. Two (2) C-130 aircraft were east of [witness's] boat as this occurred. [Witness's] husband, [redacted] immediately reported what was observed to the United States Coast Guard ... the Coast Guard reported that routine military exercises involving pyrotechnics were being performed and that a response was not necessary." That was the easiest explanation on day one, and some say to this day. Witness 525 sees two C-130s offshore at the time of the crash, where the official story denies they were.
Witness 530: "observed a 'thing' rise up through the air that looked like a red ball of fire. ... She said whatever it was, was more than just a flare." See Witness 530's sketch animated.
Witness 531: "observed a flare shoot upward from the water, ascend with a bright orange-red glow skyward and at its apex, burst into numerous orange red flames. ...advised that her boyfriend,  also watched the flares ascend."
Witness 535a: "saw the end part of something going up into the air. [Witness] explained that She did not actually see any defined object, but She saw a smokey orange streak. [Witness] could not see where the streak originated from, but it seemed to move from east to west [F800 moved from west to east]. The streak lasted for only about one or two seconds, when it then burst into a very large bright orange-red round fire. The fire descended..."
Witness 536a: "saw huge flare that came from the water, went up and exploded, and flames came down. ...She saw grey smoke and white smoke behind the 'flare'. ... There was a bright orange glow at the leading edge of the smoke."
Witness 536b: (with witness 536a) "saw an object that looked like a flare ascend into the sky. The object began at about (3) inches off the horizon, and ascended left to right [F800 would would be seen by witness traveling right to left], although it was almost completely vertical. At the apex of the ascent, the object hesitated, then exploded ... and 'showered down' to the horizon."
Witness 540: "observed what She termed as a 'dud roman candle or flare.' [Witness] further stated that this flare was white in color with a gray smoke trail. She stated that from her perspective the flare seemed to move from a southwest direction to a more westerly direction [F800 traveled in an easterly direction]. ...She stated that the speed of the flare was fast. She stated that the flare went only 'so high' but it seemed to be still moving west. Since She thought this was a roman candle that did not function correctly, She turned back and headed for the parking lot."
Witness 541: "observed a red dot emanate from the dunes and assumed it was kids with fireworks. It traveled upward very fast and after several seconds saw a large bright yellow/bright orange mass fall to the ground. ... the red dot traveled upward, slightly arching left to right [F800 would be seen by witness traveling right to left]." See witness 541's sketch.
Witness 542: "observed a reddish orange flash from the surface of the water... believed that it was possibly a distress flare ...[but] appeared to be too large to be a flare and was moving south and east until it disappeared from his view. He then saw a whitish flash and then an orange light, which he believed might be a roman candle, coming down." Witness 542's follow-up interview states: "saw an intense reddish-orange light ascend upwards from the surface into the sky. The light traveled from left to right (North to South) in an arc..." Once again and contrary to the official interpretation, this reported trajectory is opposite to the flight path of Flight 800, so the streak is not consistent with its being Flight 800.
Witness 547: "saw a red flare streak across the sky on the horizon... The flare was traveling from east to west [F800 was traveling from west to east] in an upward manner."
Witness 548: "observed a red flare-like object [redacted] in the southeast, ascending straight up for one second. [Witness] stated that the [redacted] reached the peak of his ascent, descended for three to four seconds, and then exploded."
Witness 549: "noticed something like fireworks or a flare going up from the water. It first appeared to be a fiery orange color. Shoe also noticed white smoke. She then observed a bright orange explosion in the sky... observed this fireball fall into the sea..."
Witness 550b: "saw a plane coming from the northeast on a dead course heading toward the nose of the larger plane. ...saw the smaller plane for about 3 or 4 seconds before hearing a crackling sound [possibly the sound of a rocket launch just offshore reaching 550b at that time] and saw what looked like aerial bomb fireworks."
Witness 560: "observed a fine, pencil thin white line. ... This white line extended upward in an arc shape at approximately 70 degrees [almost vertically upwards] from approximately 2 vertical degrees over the horizon and extending to 20 degrees above the horizon. ... As the line extended upwards and began to arc, the tail began to dissipate. ... The fine thin line at 20 degrees off the horizon became a brilliant, bright white light which quickly traveled into a star-shaped light radiating rays of white light [many witnesses note extreme brightness and whiteness of the initial blast, which indicates high explosives, not a fuel]. This transformation occurred in a split-second at which time it became a bright red/orange ball of fire [that] began to cascade in an arc-shape downward toward the horizon."
Witness 562: "saw what he thought to be a flare fly into the air to his southeast side over the ocean. When the 'flare' reached its highest point a bright orange fireball erupted. That fireball then fell ... into the ocean. ... He described the 'flare' as glowing and stated that it rose 'straight up' from the ocean and was in flight for approximately ten (10) seconds. ... In twenty years of boating [witness] has seen half a dozen flares fired and this amber light was a different color and thicker than any flare he has seen."
Witness 563: "observed a long streak proceed from the surface of the horizon. ... Advised that it proceeded from the lower left in his view toward his upper right [contrary to F800's path]. ...after a few seconds he saw a large burst in the sky where the streak was heading. This burst turned into a large fireball ... falling from the sky."
Witness 566: "saw what he described as 'the biggest Roman Candle' he had ever seen. The flare, trailing fire, 'burst out really big and then fell.' ... the flare ... appeared to originate from land."
Witness 567: "saw a white light, along the horizon ... [that] moved from the left to right [F800 moved from right to left viewing from witness 567's location], in an arc, for approximately five to ten seconds. On the way down from the highest point of the arc, it disappeared for a second, and then reappeared as an orange flicker. ...[that] grew into an orange ball. The ball dropped to the horizon..."
Witness 571: "saw what appeared to be cheap fireworks coming off the beach ... described this one firework as a white spark (meteor, that went up and arched across the sky. A short time later ... [witness] observed an orange fireball in the sky to the south of the bridge. The fireball fell out of the sky." See Witness 571's sketch animated.
Witness 575: before the crash "saw a big plane circling and said something to the effect that, 'it must be trying to land.'" Multiple witnesses observe circling aircraft before the crash, and in one case during the crash (see witnesses 29, 92, 340). Why so many low-flying circling aircraft? Could these aircraft be participating in an aerial military exercise?
Witness 581: "saw a sharp, yellow, very distinct, streak rising ... [N]oticed the streak started at the shoreline and traveled up to the sky and veered westbound." Flight 800 was eastbound.
Witness 586: "observed a large red or orange fishing boat, approximately 200 feet in length, several miles to the southeast. ... this boat was a commercial fishing boat with a large boom or tower on its rear. [Witness] did not notice the boat moving. At approximately 8:30 PM ... [witness] was engaged in a task such as baiting a hook when ... witnessed a large explosion. ... Following the explosion, [witness] looked in the direction of the previous sighting of the large red/orange boat and saw what appeared to be bright lights in the water which he believed was burning wreckage." That large boat is located very close to one of two launch sites triangulated by the Suffolk County Police. Witnesses 281 and 358 seem to see the same large boat in the same area.
Witness 607 & 409: "stated, 'Watch this, we're going to see fireworks.'" Witness 607 was with witness 409 and report 607 indicates that both witnesses saw the same thing. See witness 409 above.
Witness 628: "saw a plume of red flame rising from the horizon." The witness claims to have seen an explosion before that -- a unique account.
Witness 631: reported that "approximately thirty minutes prior to the crash, a small plane, possibly blue in color, was observed flying very low and erratic over the beach."
Witness 634: "saw what seemed to be a shooting star from the ground up... He stated that the shooting star's color was white and it was arching in a south-eastern direction [F800 would be falling in a northeastern direction]."
Witness 637: "said to his son, 'Look at the fireworks.' He saw something that did not look like a flare to him, it had a continuous red tail with red sparks coming out. ... He thought he saw two of these 'red tails' go up into the sky ... two seconds apart. ... One 'red tail' appeared to be ahead of the other one, moving from [witnesses] left to his right [F800 would move from his right to his left]. Then all of a sudden there was a bright orange light. ... He assumed the tails had to come from a boat. ... The tails had curved to the south as they rose [F800 traveled to the northeast]."
Witness 640: saw "a jet plane in the sky, off to his left, and moving eastward. At the same time, he saw, off to his right, a 'green flash' rising up, and going toward the plane." Witness then changed the direction of his attention away from the ocean. May have been an unrelated incident since the flash was green.
Witness 641: "was interviewed regarding the sightings of a 'flare' he observed risings from the ocean... The 'flare' went straight up... stated that he has been 'around the water,' all his life, and has seen many flares. He described this flare as larger than usual, and noted that it also climbed more steeply than usual. [Witness] also recalled that at approximately 8:00 pm ... he noted a small yellow and white plane flying west, along the beach, at approximately 50 feet over the water. A 8:05 PM, he recalled that same plane returning, now flying easterly, along the beach."
Witness 642: was with Witness 641 and both "saw what appeared to be a flare being fired from a boat in the bay. They stated that the flare did not appear to be an ordinary flare, and it could have been something like a fireworks, but the burst at the end of the flare seemed pretty unusual. It was not a normal boat flare that they are used to."
Witness 649: "saw over the tree line at Mill Road what he described as a projectile ascend in the sky. [Witness] described the projectile as red or pink with a trail of whitish smoke. The projectile moved in a squiggly manner in a southwest direction. The projectile was airborne for six-seven seconds and then met with a shiny object that produced white smoke. The white smoke disappeared and then a red ball began to form. The red ball fell in an easterly position..." See Witness 649's sketch animated.
Witness 650: "observed a white colored object that appeared to be fireworks travel up into the sky. The object traveled fast and left a trail. The object appeared to come from the water. Seconds later, [witness] observed a big, reddish/orange fireball."
Witness 653: saw "an orange or red flare ascending over the Atlantic Ocean. ...the flare or projectile, which was already airborne, went straight up ... the flare at some point disappeared and the next thing he saw was a red ball that ultimately fell into the ocean."
Witness 655: "saw a red and white dot. [Witness] described the dot as moving as if it were a ball thrown into the air and at its highest point it slows and arcs over the top ... then he saw a huge red explosion."
Witness 656: "observed what appeared to be a roman candle shoot up over the ocean from land. ... there was an explosion at the end of its flight."
Witness 665: "saw a 'flare' rising in the sky. ... The 'flare' traveled straight up into the sky on a southerly course, and then hooked southwest [F800 traveled northeast]. Then, he saw a large red/orange explosion at the end of the flare's course of travel. ... said that there was an ultralight aircraft flying in the area of East Moriches at the time of the explosion."
Witness 666: "saw an object ascending ... and just prior to what appeared to be its maximum height, it hooked to the right and then exploded."
Witness 668: "observed what She described as a 'comet.' [Witness] stated that it started from ground level ... does not know if She turned away from the object or it burned itself out."
Witness 672: "Witness observed a tan light aircraft flying low over beach, wheels down just prior to incident."
Witness 675: "noticed an orange flare ascending from the south traveling in a west-northwest direction trailing white or light gray smoke. He then observed the flare strike what looked like an eastbound Cessna airplane on the port side. [Witness] saw a small burst of flame erupt from the port side wing near the fuselage. Approximately two (2) seconds later he saw the plane go into a spiral and explode. The fireball descended..."
Witness 694: "saw a red flash ... The flash traveled upward with a very slight arc to the right [F800 traveled to the left from witness's position]. When the flash reached its highest point, it turned into a blackish gray smoke cloud. The cloud remained stationary, then eventually vanished." Since 694 did not see a massive fireball that fell to the water, this may have been another pyrotechnic event.
Witness 695: "observed a flare, yellowish in color, shooting upward from the ocean... Witness says that flare reached an apex, then burst into a large golden yellow fireball in the sky, which quickly descended back to earth."
Witness 715: "observed a white streak moving skyward from southeast of his location proceeding southerly [F800 proceeded northerly]. ... The streak burst into yellow sparks after a puff of smoke. Then orange flames descended to water in two orange columns."
Witness 730: "saw a slanted bright red line going from the horizon up and to the right [F800 would appear to move to the left]. ... then she saw what appeared to be 'dud fireworks', a fiery patch, bursting into sparks. She then saw a reddish explosion ...[that] sank down to the horizon."
Witness 733: "saw a gray smoke trail ascend at a high rate of speed and where the trail terminated an explosion occurred. He described it as going straight up, not zig zag and the trail was visible for a period of time after the explosion."
Witness 735: "approximately twenty to thirty seconds [after the crash] he then observed a twin engine jet aircraft traveling from south to north cross directly in front of him. [Witness] stated that he felt that the aircraft was flying unusually low and he added that he could see significant light emanating from inside the jet. ... he was positive that it was not a 747. [Witness] followed the path of the plane as he continued west on Ocean Drive and added that the aircraft made a wide swing heading in a westerly direction..." So many unusually low aircraft seen in the area, in this case a low-flying jet.
Witness 746: "observed, to his right, an object similar to a rocket, which appeared to have come from the ground, moving straight up in the air. [Witness] observed a reddish/blue flash in the sky..."
Analysis of FBI Witness Sketches
TWA FLIGHT 800