- Two ground zero workers go public about finding cockpit
and flight data recorders from Flight 11 and 175. Government claims 'black
boxes' from the doomed 911 flights were never found. 911 Commission ignores
information and fails to interview rescue workers.
- A 911 rescue worker said this week he was told by FBI
agents to "keep his mouth shut" about one of the "black
boxes" found at ground zero, contradicting the official story that
none of the flight and cockpit data recorders were ever recovered in the
- Honorary firefighter Mike Bellone claims he was approached
by unknown bureau agents a short time after he and his partner Nicholas
DeMasi, a retired New York firefighter, found three of the four "black
boxes" among the WTC rubble before January 2002.
- The pair first claimed to find the data recorders in
an August 2003 book entitled "Behind The Scene: Ground Zero"
when DeMasi said the "black boxes" were found while he traversed
ground zero in his ATV with three federal agents.
- FBI and New York fire officials have denied ever finding
the voice and data recorders.
- Now Bellone claims agents were adamant about keeping
the discovery a secret.
- "They confronted me and told me to not to say anything,"
recalls Bellone, referring to one of three reddish-orange boxes with two
white stripes he saw in the back of DeMasi's ATV. "I said give me
a good reason? When they couldn't, I told them I wouldn't shut up about
- "Why should I? I have nothing to hide and nothing
to gain. It's the truth and Nick and I are sticking to our story as we
- Bellone said he and DeMasi were not the only 911 rescue
workers to see the black boxes. He said there were several other witnesses
and knows first hand they have been silenced by federal agents.
- "I know two or three others saw what went down,
but they are not talking," added Bellone. "They got to those
guys after they talked to me. The only reason I can figure they are trying
to hide the truth is that the government knows it screwed up and the recorders
would prove it."
- Asked to give names of the other witnesses, he said he
wouldn't break a fellow-worker's confidence, privacy and firm desire to
- "I can tell you this, though, it was all very strange.
I worked on the spaceship Columbia clean-up and you know when something
important is found and when something is not" he recalled, saying
the day the 'black boxes' were secretly carted away agents acted like "something
big was going down."
- Bellone also recalled never learning the FBI names as
this type of personal contact and information wasn't exchanged between
the civilian workers and government officials working side-by-side at ground
- "We worked together, but nobody knew their names,"
added Bellone. "They had on their FBI jackets, but I'm sure I could
pick them out of a line-up or recognize their pictures."
- The pair's bombshell accusations blows a big hole in
the official story as well as the findings in the recent 911 Commission
report. In Chapter 1, footnote 76, there is the sole but definitive reference
to the airline "black boxes":
- "The CVR's and the FDR's (voice and flight data
recorders) from American 11 and United 175 were not found."
- Asked if DeMasi and Bellone were questioned or subpoenaed,
Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg said:
- "I can't tell you now if he was is one of the 1,200
people we interviewed or if the book was one of the countless ones we researched.
We explored every lead, but I will try to find out if we talked with him
and get back to you"
- However, Bellone said he and DeMasi never were contacted
by Commission members or asked to appear regarding their statements even
though the book was published well before the hearings commenced.
- And it's amazing with a story of such importance that
in over a year since the book surfaced almost nobody else has called them
either. It's hard to imagine a story with such magnitude has not been thoroughly
checked out unless the mainstream press purposely ignored it.
- "I have been contacted by only one newspaper reporter
from the Philadelphia Daily News. That's it," he said, referring to
an October 2004 story by reporter William Bunch, recapping DeMasi's book
statements as well as the usual official denials.
- Those close to the 911 investigation said the recovery
of the "black boxes" is important, holding vital clues and leading
to the truth of what really happened on the morning of 911.
- The cockpit voice recorder uses a pair of microphones
to capture all cockpit sounds for the last 30 minutes of a doomed flight.
The flight date recorder is also significant since it records altitude,
heading and airspeed.
- Both recorders are designed to withstand enormous impact
and heat. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials said they
should have withstood the conditions at the WTC.
- And finding the boxes after a crash seems to be standard
procedure, according to the NTSB.
- "It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders
back,' said NTSB spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz. "I can't remember another
case which we did not recover the recorders."
- Bellone is retired and was made an honorary New York
fireman for his efforts after 911. DeMasi also recently retired from Engine
Co. 261, nicknamed the "Flaming Skulls," after serving a brief
stint after 911 with the fire department's marine unit.
- First posted 12-04 http://www.arcticbeacon.citymaker.com/articles/article/1518131/17860.htm