Risk Management Expert Calls for New Investigation into Cause of TWA Flight 800 Crash

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Omega Systems Group Incorporated’s Vernon L. Grose, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board, says the investigation of TWA Flight 800, which killed 230 passengers in 1996, should be reopened because the FBI refused to consider evidence from more than 100 eyewitnesses. Over the years, Grose has given more than 170 media interviews about the crash and is considered a “founding father” of the application of systems methodology to managing risk.

A risk management aviation expert and former member of the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that questionable actions by the FBI merit a reopening of NTSB conclusions on the crash of TWA Flight 800, which killed 230 passengers in 1996.

The FBI, which led the initial investigation, decided to exclude eyewitness accounts of the fiery crash into the waters off Long Island after it took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The 17th anniversary of the aviation disaster, one of the worst in U.S. history, is July 17.

“This, in my view, raises serious questions about the FBI’s role, motive, integrity and competence that cloud the official findings,” said Vernon L. Grose, chairman of Omega Systems Group Incorporated, a risk management consulting firm. “Until questions about the FBI’s unorthodox handling of the investigation are thoroughly examined and convincingly answered, what caused the fiery crash of TWA Flight 800 will remain a mystery.

“It’s time the current NTSB make a courageous decision to reopen that investigation to consider all the evidence, including accounts of eyewitnesses.”

Because he has served as a NTSB Board member and is a risk management expert who specializes in aviation, Grose was interviewed by news media more than 170 times about the crash. Grose at first defended the government’s investigation and NTSB conclusion that overheated gases in the plane’s near-empty, center-wing fuel tank were somehow ignited, causing the tank to explode. But the more he learned about the FBI’s mishandling of the case, the more skeptical he became.

One of the worst aviation disasters in American history, the crash is getting renewed scrutiny due to “TWA FLIGHT 800,” a provocative 90-minute documentary that will air on the EPIX network at 8 p.m. on July 17. The documentary includes comments by Grose, described by Business Week as a founding father of a systems-based methodology to manage risk.

Grose has written extensively about risk management and is the author of a free ebook, “How to Systematically Prevent Accidents: Three Risk Management Lessons from the Death of Princess Diana.”

“I am convinced by the evidence that a missile – not the center wing tank explosion — brought it down, but I haven’t resolved its source,” said Grose. “Nor am I arguing that a widespread governmental conspiracy exists to keep truth from the American people. But I do support other aviation and explosion experts, including many who participated in the original TWA 800 investigation, in saying it’s time to take a fresh look at all the evidence, much of which was withheld by the FBI.”

ABOUT OSGI: Omega Systems Group Incorporated is a Washington-based consulting firm that identifies, ranks and manages risks — systematically. Business Week has described OSGI chairman Vernon L. Grose as a “founding father” of the application of systems methodology to managing risk. See omegainc.com.

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