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FBI investigates 'streak of light' near TWA crash site

TWA

Pakistan Airlines crew reports something unusual in the sky

November 17, 1996
Web posted at: 10:50 p.m. EST

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The FBI said Sunday it is investigating claims by a Pakistan International Airlines crew that they saw something unusual in the sky Saturday while on a flight path similar to that taken by TWA Flight 800, which crashed just after takeoff last July.

Pakistan International Airlines Flight 712 had just taken off from John F. Kennedy Airport Saturday evening when the copilot reported seeing "a streak of light" coming from the left hand side to the right hand side of the airplane, the pilot of the jet told WCBS local radio in a telephone interview.

"The FBI is aware of this report, that a Pakistani airlines flight crew reported seeing unusual objects in the sky," FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette told CNN Sunday. "We're doing all the logical things you would expect us to do to find out what they saw. At this point we don't know."

However, the FBI cautioned that there have been no reports of missiles in the area, and that the crew might have been seeing a meteor shower.

"That is always a possibility. There were meteor showers forecast to happen in this area late Saturday evening and into early Sunday morning," he said.

A spokesman for the Hayden Planetarium in New York said the meteor shower was expected late Saturday and early Sunday.

Valiquette said the PIA airliner had taken off from JFK airport en route to Frankfurt, Germany about 10 p.m. Saturday.

Valiquette added he could not confirm press reports that the airspace near the crash area was closed, and that flight traffic was rerouted around it. He said he also did not know whether flights had been rescheduled or delayed.

"I don't know whether they're rerouting planes," he said in a telephone interview.

Earlier this month, former White House spokesman Pierre Salinger created a storm when he said he had been given a government document that he believed proved a U.S. missile accidentally shot down TWA Flight 800.

He suggested the U.S. government covered up charges that a Navy missile accidentally destroyed the Boeing 747.

Crash investigators angrily denounced Salinger's remarks as "unadulterated nonsense." Salinger acknowledged his information was at least second hand and had been on the Internet for months, but he said he stood by his story.

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