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Rows 17 and 18
Row 17 and 18 seats from the reconstructed wreckage of TWA Flight 800. Note the missing fabric and foam material above tray tables.

Red Residue Stripped from Seats

The suspicious red residue within the wreckage of TWA Flight 800, alleged to be evidence of an explosive material, has been reportedly removed from all seats upon which it once covered. According to James Sanders, all fabric containing the red residue has been removed from the seats in rows 17-19 which are being stored at FBI headquarters in Long Island, NY. Mr. Sanders recently visited the headquarters where he noticed the red residue absent from every seat.

James Sanders obtained test results from the residue at West Coast Analytical Services (WCAS) in Santa Fe Springs, CA on January 31, 1997. In March of 1997, the residue made headlines nationwide after the Press Enterprise of Riverside California published the WCAS results which showed high concentrations of elements consistent with missile fuel and pyrotechnics. Public pressure prompted the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to independently identify the source of the red residue.

The NTSB contracted the NASA Material Science Division to compare seating material from rows 17-19 with a known seat adhesive (3M 1357 Scotch Grip Adhesive). A NASA report concluded some of the seating material to be consistent with the named adhesive. This report was used by NTSB officials to claim that the red residue was glue. However, the NTSB did not test the samples represented in the Press Enterprise article. Separate samples were lifted from the wreckage, and no attempt was made to determine by chemical analysis if these samples were consistent with those tested at WCAS.

Sanders acquired the samples from lead TWA investigator Terrel Stacey, who removed the residue from seats within the reconstruction at the Calverton Hangar in Long Island. Stacey contends the residue he removed represented a small fraction (reported to cover a few postage stamps in size) of the total. Samples sent to NASA covered approximately 170 square centimeters, or about the size of a business size envelope. All remaining residue and fabric, allegedly removed from each seat in the section, has not been represented by any publicly released report or statement by the FBI or NTSB.