9/11: Day of Unprecedented Shock (Part I)-A A +A
As I See It
Monday, September 9, 2013
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, was a day of unparalleled impact and suffering in the history of the United States. Uncle Sam was unprepared. How did this happen? Ten commissioners were given a sweeping mandate to find answers.
There were four flights and there were fourteen terrorists: American Airlines Flight 11 – Satam Al Suqani, Wail Al Shehri, Waleed Al Shehri, Abdul Azis Al Omari, and Mohamed Atta (pilot); United Airlines Flight 175 - Marwan Al Shehhi (pilot), Fayez Banihammad, Ahmed Al Ghawdi, Hamza Al Ghawdi and Mohand Al Shehri; American Flight 77 – Nawaf Al Hazmi, Majed Moqed, Hani Hanjour (pilot), Khalid Al Mihdhar, and Salem Al Hazmi; and United Airlines Flight 93 - Ahmid Al Nami, Saeed Al Ghamdi, Ziad Jarrah (pilot), and Ahmad Al Haznawi.
Sept. 11, 2001 gave Logan Airport in Boston a very pleasant morning. Two Boeing 767s were about to take off. Flight 11 was scheduled to take off at 7:45 a.m. to Los Angeles. There were five Arab nationals on board and they were just behaving like ordinary passengers. In another Logan Terminal, five other Arab nationals boarded United flight 175 for an 8 a.m. flight to Los Angeles also. At Washington Dulles Airport, there were again five other Arab nationals who boarded American Airlines flight 77 taking off at 8:10 a.m. for Los Angeles. Meantime, four Arab nationals boarded flight 93, a Boeing 767 heading for San Francisco from Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Take off time was 8 a.m.
Horror begins! 'As I See It' is committed to give you the full accounts in a manner that could be understood very well. FLIGHT 11. It took off from Logan Airport, Boston to Los Angeles at 7:59 a.m. It had 81 passengers and 9 flight attendants. By 8:14 a.m., flight 11 had its last routine communication. "This is air traffic control. You can climb to 35,000 feet. Flight 11?" There was no more response.
Betty Ong and Madeline Sweeney, flight attendants on board, said that hijacking occurred at about 8:14 a.m. The two terrorists stabbed two attendants and the other terrorists found their way into the cockpit and took over the flight. Mace was sprayed to the passengers. It is a spice made from the outer covering of the nutmeg kernel. A bomb threat was given to the passengers. At 8:24 a.m., the Boston air traffic controller received a message from American flight 11, "We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you'll be okay. We are returning to the airport."
The controller got the message but found it unintelligible. He did not hear the words "we have some planes". From 8:19 to 8:44 a.m., Ong and Sweeney were still bravely doing their work. They were able to send text message to their family on what was going on. "We are in rapid descent... all over the place." At 8:46 a.m., American flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City killing everyone inside the plane and an unknown number of people in the trade center. Boom!
FLIGHT 175. It was scheduled to depart at 8am from Logan Airport. The plane carried 56 passengers and a crew of nine. It did not take off until 8:14 a.m. It was about that time that flight 11 was being hijacked. At 8:42 a.m., the flight crew completed its report on a suspicious transmission from another plane (which turned out to have been flight 11). That was the last communication with the ground made by United Flight 175. Between 8:42 and 8:46 a.m., the hijackers manifested themselves and sprayed the passengers with mace. They showed knives to the passengers. "We have bombs and if you don't follow us, we will explode the plane."
Some passengers were able to make calls to their families and friends. "Both pilots were killed and members of the flight crew were stabbed. They seem to have mace and knives. I think we're going down... my God, my God..."
At 8:52 a.m., New York Air Traffic controllers tried to contact the flight but failed. At 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower killing all aboard along with an unknown number of people in the tower. Boom!!
(To be continued)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 09, 2013.