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Events in Gander -- An Overview

Prelude: Soldiers in the Sinai

Troop Movement and Security

Post-Crash Investigation

The Toxicology Reports: Burned Alive

Arms to Iran: Enter One Oliver North

The Governments' Lines


List of Sources

Gander: The Untold Story

Post - Crash Investigation

The Arrow Air DC-8 departed from the terminal at 6:40 a.m. Gander local time, crashing six minutes later less than a half-mile from the end of runway 22. (1:5) Army Major Gen. John Crosby arrived in Gander at 3:00 p.m. local time, along with Army personnel to assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in their investigative efforts. However, the Army's only role was to assist, and not investigate, at the scene of the accident; this would be done solely by the RCMP. Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FBI were also dispatched to the site within hours of the crash.

The disturbing part about the investigation lies in the cooperative efforts between the Canadian and U.S. governments. Many of the officials sent to the crash site were told that they had no jurisdiction there, as the crash did not take place on U.S. territory. In most accidents that involve U.S. citizens, officials probe further to uncover details. In this case, however, many of the officials accepted whatever theories were laid before them by the Canadian officials. The FBI officials were put up in a hotel room for several days, at which time they were informed about the RCMP's findings and told to go home. Information in hand, they departed, leaving a possible crime scene with only the information they were provided -- unprecedented for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (6:34)

Two separate eyewitnesses remember General Crosby ordering the "immediate bulldozing of the crash site." Although General Crosby denies mentioning the bulldozing operation in December, records show that less than 10 days following the accident, Crosby was in touch with officials in Gander and Ottawa regarding the site cleanup, which was to be performed with "a representative of the Army present at all times." (2:83-85) The immediate bulldozing of a crash site removes all traces of wrongdoing, and seems especially intriguing in light of the Pan Am 103 investigation which took place after that flight was brought down by an explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland. Investigators in the Pan Am case reconstructed the aircraft piece by piece until the source of the explosion was found: a detonator small enough to fit in the lock of a suitcase was found among the 747's wreckage. (2:431) No meticulous investigation such as this was made in the Gander accident. The bodies of the deceased were the only hard evidence examined for an in-flight explosion, and even they were hurriedly examined.

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