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TimelineEdit

(8:21 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Attendant Ong’s Hijacking Account Forwarded to American Airlines Operations Center Edit

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Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines supervisor with expertise on security matters, is patched in to a call with flight attendant Betty Ong on Flight 11.[1]

At 8:21 a.m., according to the 9/11 Commission (or 8:27 a.m., according to the Wall Street Journal), Gonzalez calls Craig Marquis, a manager at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) in Fort Worth, Texas. Gonzalez holds the phone to Ong to one ear, and the phone to Marquis to the other.[2][3] [4][5]

Marquis quickly says, “I’m assuming they’ve declared an emergency. Let me get ATC [ air traffic control ] on here. Stand by.… Okay, we’re contacting the flight crew now and we’re… we’re also contacting ATC.”

Gonzalez relays that Ong is saying the hijackers from seats 2A and 2B are in the cockpit with the pilots, and that there are no doctors on board. Gonzalez talks to Marquis continuously until Flight 11 crashes. While only the first four minutes of Ong’s call from Flight 11 are recorded by American Airlines [see 1], all of Gonzalez’s call to Marquis will be recorded. Four minutes, of what is apparently a compilation from it, are later played before the 9/11 Commission. [1]

(Between 8:27 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Ong Gives Flight 11 Details; Seating Accounts Differ Edit

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Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines Wikipedia supervisor at its Southeastern Reservations Office, is relaying information to Craig Marquis, a manager at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC)[see 2]. According to Marquis,

“She said two flight attendants had been stabbed, one was on oxygen. A passenger had his throat slashed and looked dead and they had gotten into the cockpit.”

Marquis later recollects that Ong said the four hijackers had come from first-class seats: 2A, 2B, 9A, and 9B. She’d said the wounded passenger was in seat 10B. [2] [6] Note that this conflicts with the seats flight attendant Amy Sweeney gave for the hijackers at about the same time: 9D, 9G, and 10B [see 3]. At around 8:30 a.m., this information is passed to Gerard Arpey Wikipedia, the effective head of American Airlines this morning [see 4].[7]

By 9:59 a.m., counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and other top officials receive the information. [8]

(8:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001: American Airlines Vice President Informed of Hijacking, But Unable to Contact Company President Edit

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Gerard Arpey Wikipedia, American Airlines Wikipedia’ executive vice president for operations, is in his office at the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. During a routine call to the airline’s nearby System Operations Control (SOC), he learns from manager Joe Burdepelly that Flight 11 may have been hijacked.

Burdepelly tells Arpey that another manager, Craig Marquis, is in contact with Betty Ong on the hijacked flight. Arpey learns that Ong said two other attendants have been stabbed, that two or three passengers are in the cockpit, and more. Arpey then tries, unsuccessfully, to contact American Airlines’ president Don Carty Wikipedia to inform him of the situation. He leaves a message for him to call back as soon as possible. Carty has not arrived at his office yet, meaning Arpey is the effective head of American Airlines during the early phase of the crisis. Arpey then sets out to the SOC, which is located about a mile from headquarters, and will arrive there some time between 8:35 and 8:40 a.m.[1][7] At some point before Flight 11 crashes, he is told about the strange hijacker transmissions coming from this plane[see 5].[9]

8:33 a.m. September 11, 2001: Betty Ong Reports Death of Flight 11 Passenger Edit

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In her emergency phone call from Flight 11, Betty Ong reports that someone on the plane might have been killed. The 9/11 Commission says this is “the first indication of a fatality on board.” A minute later, Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines supervisor who is receiving Ong’s call, relays the details to American Airlines manager Craig Marquis: “They think they might have a fatality on the flight. One of our passengers, possibly on 9B, Levin or Lewis, might have been fatally stabbed.” She is presumably referring to Daniel Lewin, who was killed at around 8:20 a.m. [see 6]. Ong had briefly referred to a stabbing earlier on, saying, “Somebody’s stabbed in business class” [see 1]. Whether she was referring to Lewin on that occasion, or to the stabbing of a flight attendant or another passenger, is unknown.[10]

8:35 a.m.-8:36 a.m. September 11, 2001: American Airlines Supervisor Confirms Details of Slightly Misnamed HijackerEdit

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Nydia Gonzalez, a supervisor at the American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office, is one of the American employees receiving the emergency phone call from Flight 11 attendant Betty Ong [see 1]. At this time, she confirms the details of a report by Ong, regarding the identity of one of the plane’s hijackers:

“He’s the one that’s in the—he’s in the cockpit. Okay you said Tom Sukani? Okay—Okay and he was in 10B. Okay, okay, so he’s one of the persons that are in the cockpit. And as far as weapons, all they have are just knives?”

“Tom Sukani” is presumably a mistaken reference to hijacker Satam Al Suqami. Gonzalez is continuously relaying details of Ong’s call to Craig Marquis, a manager at the American Airlines operations center in Fort Worth [see 2]. At 8:36 a.m., Marquis receives Gonzalez’s report about the hijacker Ong referred to as “Tom Sukani.” He then initiates a “lockout” procedure for Flight 11 [see 7].[7]

8:36 a.m.-8:38 a.m. September 11, 2001: American Airlines Conducts ‘Lockout’ of Flight 11 Edit

in a template Craig Marquis, a manager at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) in Fort Worth, Texas, initiates actions to “lockout” Flight 11. This procedure, as the 9/11 Commission Report later describes,

“acknowledges an emergency on the flight and isolates information so that the case can be managed by top leadership at the airlines in a way that protects information from being altered or released, and also protects the identities of the passengers and crew.”

Within two minutes, American Airlines Wikipedia has completed the lockout. Marquis realized Flight 11 was an emergency situation almost immediately after 8:21 a.m., when he began receiving details of flight attendant Betty Ong’s phone call from it [see 2]. [4][11]

8:37 a.m.-8:38 a.m. September 11, 2001: American Airlines Reports that Flight 11 Is a Confirmed Hijacking Edit

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American Airlines Wikipedia manager Craig Marquis is talking to Nydia Gonzalez, who in turn is talking to flight attendant Betty Ong on Flight 11.

Marquis tells Gonzalez,

“We contacted air traffic control, they are going to handle this as a confirmed hijacking. So they’re moving all the traffic out of this aircraft’s way.… He turned his transponder off, so we don’t have a definitive altitude for him. We’re just going by… They seem to think that they have him on a primary radar. They seem to think that he is descending.”[1]


Boston air traffic control had in fact begun notifying its chain of command that Flight 11 was a suspected hijacking at around 8:25 [see 8]

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