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The “Other” Deadly JFK Mystery

Is something strangely coincidental about the series of airplane crashes out of JFK airport?

November 29, 2001

Is something strangely coincidental about the series of airplane crashes out of JFK airport?

Try doing a worldwide web search for “JFK,” “mystery” and “death.” You’ll come up with thousands of websites still mulling over the facts and fiction of November 22, 1963 — and the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

They cover issues such as whether or not there was more than one gunman. What exactly can be inferred from the Zapruder film, the grainy black-and-white footage of the actual assassination made by an onlooker? Who was the real Lee Harvey Oswald — or his killer, Jack Ruby? The Warren Commission, which published the official report of the investigation, left most questions unanswered and most people dissatisfied.

The shadowy conspiracy theories made it into the national mainstream in Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, JFK, which asserted that the assassination of a U.S. President was a contract killing ordered by the military-industrial complex because of his reluctance to fight a war in Vietnam. While most historians found that conclusion preposterous, as long as there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions in the official account, wild conjectures remain legitimate.

But that’s the old JFK mystery. With all due respect, it only involved the deaths of two men. What about another JFK mystery — which is just as puzzling as the first one, but which has so far caused the death of nearly 1,000 people? What we have in mind is a series of four airplane crashes since 1996 that originated out of the JFK airport in New York City.

True, passenger airliners can crash anywhere in the world — and indeed over the years few airports and airlines have been exempt from such tragedies. But one must wonder what it is about New York’s JFK airport, which is not even one of the top 10 busiest airports in the United States. Planes taking off from there seem to vanish without explanation — or even real traces — with deadly regularity.

In a series of deadly incidents, JFK is earning itself a reputation for mystery. Other than having originated from JFK airport, the four flights also share one other thing in common — pending the as-yet incomplete investigation of the American Airlines tragedy, none has been satisfactorily explained.

Let’s take a closer look. The first in this series occurred off the coast of Long Island on July 17, 1996, and it involved a Boeing 747. TWA flight 800 from New York to Paris broke up in mid-air — and crashed into the ocean killing all aboard. According to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the probable cause was an explosion of the center wing fuel tank resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank.

Then came a Swissair flight on September 3, 1998, which involved an MD-11 crashing off the coast of Nova Scotia. There is still no hard evidence as to what might have caused the accident. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada assumes that very high temperatures were experienced in the forward part of the aircraft shortly before impact, and that various instruments had failed by the time the aircraft impacted with the water.

A year later, on October 30, 1999, an Egypt Air Boeing 767 plunged into the sea around Nantucket. While U.S. authorities hang on to the theory that the co-pilot brought down the plane on purpose, Egypt maintains that the crash was due to a flaw in the control systems.

Finally, the most recent fatality came on November 12, 2001, when an American Airlines Airbus A-300 bound for Santo Domingo crashed minutes after takeoff. The latest is that autorities believe turbulence from the wake of a Japane Airlines jumbo literally sliced off the plane’s tail. Previously it had been stated that both aircraft had kept the required safety distance. How could this have happened? Nobody is sure.

At any rate, these incidents are too much of a coincidence. Not surprisingly, the worl wide web is beginning to crawl with conspiracy theories on this topic as well. The more serious researchers talk of electromagnetic waves interfering with communications and navigation systems of the doomed airliners. Other more ominous analysis, discuss the possibility of the planes being brought down by stray military missiles. There is at least one website which discusses the downing of the planes in the context of the coming end of the world.

What is it about the airport? The mechanics there? Why always New York City, why this one airport, why not nearby Newark — which also has plenty of international flights?

As long as the U.S. government is unable — or, to some people, unwilling — to provide a straightforward explanation, conspiracy websites will continue to prod what must by now be considered the “other great JFK mystery.”