Nelson DeMille’s bestselling novel. Nightfall, opens on July 17, 1996, with a steamy encounter on a Long Island beach. The man and women involved decide to videotape their coupling. In the process, they inadvertently capture the destruction of TWA Flight 800. The novel centers around that video.
Through his many contacts with the NYPD/Joint Terrorism Task Force DeMille learned there was a real video out there. To the best of my knowledge, the FBI confiscated the original from the MSNBC studios in the early morning hours of July 18, 1996.
Although I have communicated with scores of people who saw the video when it briefly aired, I have only spoken to one who knows exactly what he saw. His name is Thomas Young. Here is his story:
In early August 1996, I was admitted to the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong for ten days with a back injury. My employer, Polar Air Cargo, flew my wife Barbara out to join me as our anniversary was in a few days, and I knew my wife would be worried sick with me being hospitalized in a foreign country.
We had little else to do but watch TV as I was in traction for most of the hospital stay. From the first day of being admitted to the hospital until the morning I was discharged from the hospital and boarded a flight for San Francisco, I witnessed a devastating video of a missile launch recorded by an unknown Long Island, NY resident.