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[Sound of camera flash, picture of the Oceanic Six appears]
NARRATOR: By now, unless you've been stranded on a deserted island, you know the story of the Oceanic Six.
MS. DECKER: Based on the location of the wreckage, our best estimate of the crash site is here.
NARRATOR: How Kate and Aaron Austen, Sayid Jarrah, Sun Kwon, Hugo Reyes and Jack Shephard miraculously survived the crash of Flight 815 off the coast of Bali. How ocean currents carried them to a deserted island called Membata, how they survived for 108 days before they paddled a raft to the island of Sumba, where they were discovered, rescued, and airlifted to Honolulu.
MS. DECKER: I present to you, the survivors of Oceanic 815.
NARRATOR: This is their story. The story that has made the Oceanic Six both international celebrities, and absurdly wealthy. A story so incredible, so completely improbable, that quite frankly we all assume it has to be true...or is it? Could this unbelieveable story be just that, unbelievable? Could the Oceanic Six be at the center of one of the greatest conspiracies in recent history? And if they are, who or what are they trying to protect?
[Title: The Oceanic Six- A Conspiracy of Lies]
NARRATOR: Let's start by looking at their official story. Eight adults survived what was at best, the attempted emergency landing of a Boeing 777 in open water, a fact most of us take at face value. But in December 2002, Global Economy Magazine reported that "In the entire history of aviation, the number of wide-bodied jets that have made successful landings on water...is zero." Bill Waldock is a professor of safety science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and the world's leading authority on aircraft crashes.
BILL WALDOCK: Typically, if you have a high-angle impact, usually from some form of loss of control of the airplane, for whatever reason, the water itself becomes incompressible. It's as solid as concrete if you hit it at the right angle at the right velocities, so what it's going to tend to do is shatter the structure in the airplane. So literally, you may have thousands of millions of pieces.
NARRATOR: The only comparable water landing in recent history is that of Valais Air Flight 101, which crashed in the Atlantic while attempting to land at Keflavik International Airport. The force was so great on impact, that more than two million pieces of debris were salvaged from the wreckage site. All but one of the bodies was so disfigured, that they had to be identified through dental records, fingerprints and DNA.
BILL WALDOCK: Airplanes that have wing mounted engines like the 767, 777, the engine pods themselves actually hang down below the lower part of the fuselage. As the pods dig in, you pitch into a deep ocean swell, it's gonna shatter the fuselage. [cuts to scene outside, metal shrapnel strewn about] Now, this is a good example of an airplane that might be traveling 100-120 miles per hour, impacting the ground and fragmenting. If you hit the water at a high angle, this would be the sort of effect it should have on the airplane.
NARRATOR: [footage of the discovery of the staged wreckage of Flight 815] Now look at these images, broadcast to the world as the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815, found at the bottom of the Sunda Trench by the Christiane I, approximately two months after the crash. As reported, the wreckage appears to be nearly intact.
BILL WALDOCK: Got an intact tail. We got a major fracture just forward of the horizontal stabilizer, yet the rest of the fuselage is laying right in front of the tail. That would be unlikely as well. Don't see too much impact damage at all on the front end.
NARRATOR: In addition, the debris in these images looks to have settled in a relatively contained geographic area. In stark contrast, debris and body parts from Flight 101 were collected from an area of well over 60 square miles.
BILL WALDOCK: Then you go through a few miles' worth of depth, you should have a scatter pattern that might be 100 miles across. There's no way you'd see the parts of the airplane this close to each other for over four miles down. If I were to come upon these by myself, it looks like either a junkyard or a staged set-up.
NARRATOR: If what we are looking at is not the wreckage of an airline crash, but instead staged pieces of debris that have been rolled off a ship, whose bodies are those sitting in the seats? The following is an interview with an operator who worked with U.S. National Transportation Safety Board's Oceanic hotline. Her voice and likeness have been disguised for her protection.
OPERATOR: Well, I took a call from this guy. He seemed really agitated, he kept asking to speak to my supervisor and I wanted to know why, and then he started yelling something about how the footage he was watching on TV, there's no way that the pilot could have been the real pilot of Flight 815. All I know is what he directly said to me, I mean I really can't say anything about anything else. I did hear a rumor that he told my supervisor that the footage he was watching, the pilot didn't wear - wasn't wearing - a wedding ring, and the pilot that he knew always wore his wedding ring. So there's no way that that pilot, that body, could have been the pilot's.
BILL WALDOCK: Typical at that type of depth, the temperature was like being in a refrigerator, it tends to slow the decomposition processes way down. But the biggest threat usually, in terms of changing the body, is the sea life. It's amazing, even at those types of depths, how much life there is down there. And those are gonna be the ones that are gonna begin to change the body, typically from feeding behaviors. It doesn't look typical of a body that would have been sitting at that depth for that period of time.
[shot of the Christiane I]
NARRATOR: Conveniently, the one piece of debris the Christiane I was unable to find was the black box. The single piece of evidence that could prove whether or not this is in fact the wreckage of Oceanic Flight 815, is missing.
BILL WALDOCK: Normally, in most Boeing airplanes, they're located back in the tail of the airplane, just behind the air pressure bulkhead. Typically, if we can find the tail of the airplane, then the boxes should be still attached to their mounts. It's a relatively easy process, even with an ROV, to go in and open the hatch, the access hatch, and unmount them and bring them back to the surface.
NARRATOR: But let's assume for a moment that these images were not staged, that this is where Flight 815 crashed. The most obvious question then becomes, why was Flight 815 so off course? How did it end up over a thousand miles in the opposite direction of its route to Los Angeles? The answer may lie at the bottom of the Sunda Trench. With a maximum depth of 4.8 miles, the Sunda Trench is one of the most inaccessible places on Earth. Far beyond the reach of any salvage attempt, Flight 815 could not have crashed in a worse place for investigators, which, not so coincidentally, makes it the perfect place for it to have crashed if your intent was to conceal the truth.
A second possible explanation for the inexplicable location of the wreck, relates to the geography of the land above the Sunda Trench. According to a 2002 survey by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, Indonesia is comprised of 18,306 islands. The Indonesian government estimates that over 6,000 of these islands are uninhabited, undiscovered, and unnamed. If you were going to have six survivors disappear for 108 days, what better place in Earth could you find? A place that makes the verification of the Oceanic Six's whereabouts physically impossible. But let's imagine for a moment that Oceanic 815 did crash in the Indian Ocean, as reported here [shows location of staged wreck]. How did the Oceanic Six end up here, in this area northeast of the crash site? According to the official story, they were carried by ocean currents.
[phone interview with Janet Sprintall, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Leading authority on the Indian Ocean]
JANET SPRINTALL: We have special instruments that are actually current meters, and we also derive measurements of the surface currents from satellite-based measurements. In that reigon I had a set of moorings out in Lombok and Ombai, which are northwest and east of Sumba, and the currents were strongly towards the west during September of 2004. Based on our measurements, it would be impossible to float towards the east during September of 2004.
NARRATOR: As to the fate of the other three initial survivors of the crash, only the Oceanic Six know the truth, and they are not talking. No attempt has been made to recover their remains, and when thousands of Charlie Pace's fans asked Oceanic Air to help them locate Membata to build a memorial, they were met with an official runaround. Why? If the six are not flat-out lying about the identities of the other three, the they are at least suppressing information about their fate. Information, some speculate, might relate to how the Six stayed in such top physical condition on the island.
[shows picture of O6 in raft]
These photos have been printed and broadcast around the world as the very first images of the Oceanic Six emerging from the sea. But ask yourself, do these people look like they're been stranded on an island for 108 days, living off coconuts and fish?
[interview with Dr. Janet Mayer, physician nutition specialist]
DR. MAYER: They would have the fish, which is difficult to catch, and the coconut, which is high in fat. But what they're missing is carbohydrate. And when a person is missing that, they end up burning their own fat stores for energy. And so, therefore they lose weight. Once they lose their fat stores and become very lean, then they go into their protein stores, which is their muscle mass and they begin wasting. And so you would have a great deal of loss, I'd say at least 25 percent in three months' time, which is 108, or more.
NARRATOR: If you compare these images [pictures of Sayid, Sun and Hurley before Flight 815] from airport surveillance cameras taken on the day of the crash, with these photos taken on the day of the rescue, it appears as if none of them lost significant weight. Which raises the question: Did they have another source of food?
DR. MAYER: There's no way to maintain their body weight with just fish and coconuts. They had to have found some other source of food.
NARRATOR: The human body contains approximately 100,000 calories. And though some are convinced this is the central lie the Six are covering, that they consumed the remains of the other three survivors, it does not explain the other significant inconsistencies in these photos.
DR. MAYER: If someone was out on a raft, in open ocean, without any shelter they would be extremely sunburned. The skin blisters first, it turns super red, and as it heals, then it starts to peel and it sheets off. The pictures that I saw of them walking out of the ocean did not show skin damage and the effects of the sun.
NARRATOR: Another obvious physical inconsistency is the three men's hair growth.
DR. MAYER: Yeah, keep in mind that when someone is starving and their wasting, hair growth would slow, and it might even...they might even suffer hair loss, and maybe have patches of hair missing, but form a beard that was probably somewhat substantial. Big beard. But these guys, they look, you know, like they've had some kind of, you know, ability to shave their skin.
NARRATOR: It is also evident that Jack Shephard's hair was cut during the three months in question. [picture of Jack at Oceanic check-in counter pre-Flight 815] When you compare these images take on the day he boarded the airplane, with these of the day he was rescued, the length of his hair appears to be unchanged. [photo of O6 on raft] The last physical inconsistency in these photos, one that simply has no explanation, is how the Oceanic Six were able to change their clothes. All of which raises the question: Where could the Oceanic Six have been for three and a half months, where they could eat a high caloric diet, stay out of the sun, shave, get their hair cut, and get a new set of clothes?
Probably the most glaring point of contention in the official story is the birth of Aaron Austen on the island. Not because Kate Austen could not have given birth on the island, but because she was never pregnant in the first place. [on screen: Translation: Kate Austen is lying] According to the official story, Austen had to have been six months pregnant at the time of the crash. The following is a radio interview with security officer Sheanna Mitchell, two days after the Oceanic Six press conference.
[Radio Broadcast Transcript]
DJ: All right Sheanna, you say you met Kate Austen on September 21st, 2004, the night before the crash. Is this correct?
SHEANNA MITCHELL: Yeah, that's right. She was in the custody of a U.S. Marshal, and he needed some place to hold her for the night, so we just admitted her to the airport jail.
DJ: Okay, were you in a position to see whether or not she was pregnant?
SHEANNA MITCHELL: Well yeah, I was the one that admitted her, and seeing as I was the only female on duty, I gave her the routine exam.
DJ: And is there any way, shape or form, in your honest estimation, that she could've been six months pregnant at the time?
SHEANNA MITCHELL: No, I mean, I've got three kids myself, and I know what happens to the body, and no, this bird was not pregnant at all, no.
NARRATOR: One month later, Mitchell released an official statement to the press mysteriously recanting her story, claiming she is not a qualified medical person, and therefore unable to determine whether or not Kate Austen was six months pregnant.