The front third of the aircraft was ripped off by an explosion in the center fuel tank. Seconds later, the plummeting remainder was consumed by flames. This was not for the faint of heart, the Bureau's assistant director James Kallstrom warned, but insisted the American people deserved to see it.
Of course, the FBI still don't know what caused the crash beyond an unspecified mechanical failure. But the reconstruction sought to nix niggling fears of a friendly fire incident, and to prove that what dissenting eyewitnesses had seen was not a missile going up, but Flight 800 coming down. At least one skeptic was convinced: Kallstrom said Pierre Salinger had called to concur with his findings.