9/11 Calls from the World Trade Center
On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.
8:45 AM-On that Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, television cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident.
9:03 AM- Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767–United Airlines Flight 175–appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center and sliced into the south tower near the 60th floor.
9:45 AM-As millions of people watched on TV what was happening in New York, a third plane circled over downtown Washington, D.C., and slammed into the west side of the Pentagon Building (our military headquarters). 125 military personnel and civilians were killed in the Pentagon, along with all 64 people aboard the plane.
10:30 AM-The 2nd tower collapsed. Close to 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 60 police officers who were trying to evacuate the buildings.
A 4th plane, United Flight 93, was hijacked about 40 minutes after leaving the Airport in New Jersey. Because the plane had been delayed in taking off, passengers on board learned of events in New York and Washington via cell phone. Knowing that the aircraft was not returning to an airport, a group of passengers and flight attendants planned to take control of the plane. One of the passengers, Thomas Burnett, told his wife over the phone that “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Another passenger–Todd Beamer–was heard saying “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line.
10:10 AM-The passengers fought the four hijackers. The plane then crashed in a rural field in western Pennsylvania. All 45 people aboard were killed. Its intended target is not known, but theories include the White House, the U.S. Capitol, or a nuclear power plant.
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