Montoursville Reacts to TWA Flight 800 Documentary

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MONTOURSVILLE -- A new documentary claims the government has covered up the real reason TWA Flight 800 crashed 17 years ago killing more than 20 people from central Pennsylvania.

16 of them were Montoursville Area High School students.

A new documentary is being released that may spark even more controversy as to what led to the crash.

The documentary TWA Flight 800 will premiere next month on the 17th anniversary of the explosion involving that plane.

The documentary features former investigators who claim the government lied about the actual cause of the tragedy.

Quite a few people from Montoursville still believe there was a cover up and for folks who lived through that horrific time, they expect the new film will dredge up bitter feelings from the past.

Throughout Montoursville are stark reminders of the TWA Flight 800 disaster that killed 16 high school students and their five chaperones in July, 1996.

There is a memorial statue along with the names of this community's lost sons and daughters, and at the historical society there is an entire room of keepsakes and news articles from that dark time.

The new documentary TWA Flight 800 has former investigators claiming the government covered up the real cause of the explosion that killed 230 people aboard the plane. The documentary questions the federal government's conclusion that a spark ignited a fuel tank on the flight leaving New York headed to France.

"It was hard back then, why bring it up again?" wondered resident Skip Miller.

Don Nibert's daughter, Cheryl, was among those killed, and in 2002 Nibert spoke with Newswatch 16 about the investigation and his own independent search for answers.

"It's difficult to entertain that your own government killed your child," said Nibert.

Just like he thought then, Nibert still thinks the true cause of the TWA Flight 800 disaster was covered up. He said he knows in his heart what did happen and believes the documentary is a lost cause and will likely not answer any more questions about what happened that July 17th.

"It will reopen the wounds and the floodgates and make them think about it all again," said teacher Michelle Hopkins.

Hopkins taught at Montoursville Area High School back then and is surprised to see the documentary come out now. There were some and still are people unhappy with official cause of the explosion of Flight 800, according to Hopkins.

"If they've not been satisfied with the answer I think they deserve an answer for the reason they lost their loves ones," she said.

Nibert said the truth about TWA Flight 800 still needs to come out.

The documentary doesn't speculate on what did cause the explosion 17 years ago but does push for re-opening the investigation into the disaster.