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(Before 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Flight 93 Flying Erratically and Making Strange Noises Edit

Numerous eyewitnesses see and hear Flight 93 just before its crash:

Terry Butler, at Stoystown: He sees the plane come out of the clouds, low to the ground. “It was moving like you wouldn’t believe. Next thing I knew it makes a heck of a sharp, right-hand turn.” It banks to the right and appears to be trying to climb to clear one of the ridges, but it continues to turn to the right and then veers behind a ridge. About a second later it crashes. [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/12/2001] 

Accounts of the plane making strange noises -

Laura Temyer of Hooversville: “I didn’t see the plane but I heard the plane’s engine. Then I heard a loud thump that echoed off the hills and then I heard the plane’s engine. I heard two more loud thumps and didn’t hear the plane’s engine anymore after that.” (She insists that people she knows in state law enforcement have privately told her the plane was shot down, and that decompression sucked objects from the aircraft, explaining why there was a wide debris field.) [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15/2001] 
Charles Sturtz, a half-mile from the crash site: The plane is heading southeast and has its engines running. No smoke can be seen. “It was really roaring, you know. Like it was trying to go someplace, I guess.” [WPXI 11 (PITTSBURGH), 9/13/2001] 
Michael Merringer, two miles from the crash site: “I heard the engine gun two different times and then I heard a loud bang…” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/12/2001] 
Tim Lensbouer, 300 yards away: “I heard it for ten or 15 seconds and it sounded like it was going full bore.” [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/12/2001] 

Accounts of the plane flying upside down -

Rob Kimmel, several miles from the crash site: He sees it fly overhead, banking hard to the right. It is 200 feet or less off the ground as it crests a hill to the southeast. “I saw the top of the plane, not the bottom.” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 210-211] Eric Peterson of Lambertsville: He sees a plane flying overhead unusually low. The plane seemed to be turning end-over-end as it dropped out of sight behind a tree line. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/12/2001] 
Bob Blair of Stoystown: He sees the plane spiraling and flying upside down, not much higher than the treetops, before crashing. [DAILY AMERICAN, 9/12/2001] 

Accounts of a sudden plunge and more strange sounds -

An unnamed witness says he hears two loud bangs before watching the plane take a downward turn of nearly 90 degrees. [NEWS CHANNEL 5 (CLEVELAND), 9/11/2001] 
Tom Fritz, about a quarter-mile from the crash site: He hears a sound that “wasn’t quite right” and looks up in the sky. “It dropped all of a sudden, like a stone,” going “so fast that you couldn’t even make out what color it was.” [ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/12/2001] 
Terry Butler, a few miles north of Lambertsville: “It dropped out of the clouds.” The plane rose slightly, trying to gain altitude, then “it just went flip to the right and then straight down.” [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/12/2001] 
Lee Purbaugh, 300 yards away: “There was an incredibly loud rumbling sound and there it was, right there, right above my head—maybe 50 feet up.… I saw it rock from side to side then, suddenly, it dipped and dived, nose first, with a huge explosion, into the ground. I knew immediately that no one could possibly have survived.” [INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002] 

Upside down and a sudden plunge -

Linda Shepley: She hears a loud bang and sees the plane bank to the side. [ABC NEWS, 9/11/2001] She sees the plane wobbling right and left, at a low altitude of roughly 2,500 feet, when suddenly the right wing dips straight down, and the plane plunges into the earth. She says she has an unobstructed view of Flight 93’s final two minutes. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15/2001] 
Kelly Leverknight in Stony Creek Township of Shanksville: “There was no smoke, it just went straight down. I saw the belly of the plane.” It sounds like it is flying low, and it’s heading east. [DAILY AMERICAN, 9/12/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/12/2001] 
Tim Thornsberg, working in a nearby strip mine: “It came in low over the trees and started wobbling. Then it just rolled over and was flying upside down for a few seconds… and then it kind of stalled and did a nose dive over the trees.” [WPXI 11 (PITTSBURGH), 9/13/2001] Some claim that these witness accounts support the idea that Flight 93 is hit by a missile. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15/2001] While this theory certainly can be disputed, it is worth noting that some passenger planes hit by missiles continued to fly erratically for several minutes before crashing. For instance, a Korean Airline 747 was hit by two Russian missiles in 1983, yet continued to fly for two more minutes. [KOREAN AIR, 8/31/1983] Kelly Leverknight, whose home is a couple of miles from the Flight 93 crash site, adds that planes going overhead are nothing unusual here because the area is a “military flight corridor.” [DAILY AMERICAN, 9/12/2001]

Entity Tags: Terry Butler, Kelly Leverknight, Eric Peterson, Linda Shepley, Lee Purbaugh, Rob Kimmel, Tim Thornsberg, Michael Merringer, Tim Lensbouer, Tom Fritz, Bob Blair, Laura Temyer, Charles Sturtz Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Flight UA 93, All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(Just Before 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Lights Go Out Before Flight 93 Crashes, Allegedly Indicating a Missile Being Fired John Fleegle, a manager at the Indian Lake Marina about 1.5 miles from where Flight 93 crashes, is indoors with some colleagues, watching the televised coverage of the World Trade Center attack. Then, as he later describes, “All of a sudden the lights flickered and we joked that maybe they were coming for us. Then we heard engines screaming close overhead. The building shook. We ran out, heard the explosion and saw a fireball mushroom,” following the crash. When he later describes this incident while on a training course in Atlanta, Fleegle will be told that what happened means Flight 93 “was shot down.” A man there who says he is a retired Air Force officer will tell Fleegle, “[W]hen your lights flickered, [it was because] they zap the radar frequency on everything before they shoot. Your lights didn’t flicker from the impact—your lights flickered because they zapped the radar system before they shot it.” However, William “Buck” Kernan, a retired four-star Army general, will dispute this claim, saying, “[R]egarding an aircraft engaging an airborne target having an electrical disruption on the ground, no, this would not be a result of lock on or any electromagnetic pulsing.” He will suggest it is “possible that overpressure from explosions could momentarily disrupt microwave connections or cause sensations on ground relays, wiring, etc.” that might result in the lights having flickered. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/14/2001; LAPPE AND MARSHALL, 2004, PP. 35-36] But, consistent with Fleegle’s allegation, a number of local residents—including military veterans—say they heard the sound of a missile overhead just before the time of the crash (see Just Before 10:06 a.m. September 11, 2001). Another local resident, Val McClatchey, will report her lights and phone going out around the time of the crash. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/11/2002] According to Barry Lichty, the mayor of Indian Lake Borough, the town’s electricity goes out around this time. He later learns that the plane crash had disrupted service to the borough. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/12/2001] Interestingly, one alternative theory later suggested is that Flight 93 could have been brought down using “electromagnetic interference” (see August 13, 2002). The US Air Force and Pentagon have in fact “conducted extensive research on ‘electronic warfare applications’ with the possible capacity intentionally to disrupt the mechanisms of an airplane in such a way as to provoke, for example, an uncontrollable dive.” [INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002] Entity Tags: Barry Lichty, Val McClatchey, John Fleegle, William Kernan Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(Before 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Fighters Trailing Flight 93 When It Crashes, According to Some Accounts; Other Accounts Contradict This Shortly after 9/11, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will say the nearest fighter jets to Flight 93 at the time it crashes are the F-16s from Langley Air Force Base that are flying a combat air patrol over Washington, DC (see (Between 9:49 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 34 ] Other accounts will conflict over whether or not there are any fighter jets near Flight 93 when it goes down:

Two days after the attacks, it will be reported that an unnamed New England air traffic controller has ignored a ban on controllers speaking to the media, and this controller claims “that an F-16 fighter closely pursued Flight 93.… [T]he F-16 made 360-degree turns to remain close to the commercial jet.” The controller adds that the fighter pilot “must’ve seen the whole thing.” He reportedly learned this from speaking to controllers who were closer to the crash. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/13/2001; TELEGRAPH (NASHUA), 9/13/2001] 
Five days after the attacks, on September 16, CBS News will report that two F-16s are tailing Flight 93 and are within 60 miles of it when it goes down. [CBS NEWS, 9/16/2001; INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002] 
But, also on September 16, Major General Paul Weaver, the director of the Air National Guard, will say that no military planes were sent after Flight 93. [SEATTLE TIMES, 9/16/2001] 
In April 2002, Anthony Kuczynski will tell the University of St. Thomas’s weekly newspaper that he had flown toward Pittsburgh alongside two F-16s on 9/11. He says he was piloting an E-3 Sentry AWACS plane, which has advanced radar and surveillance equipment that can be used to direct fighter jets to their targets. He was just about to intercept Flight 93 when it crashed. He says, “I was given direct orders to shoot down an airliner.” (E-3s are unarmed, so, if this account is accurate, the order presumably applied to the fighters Kuczynski was accompanying.) [ST. THOMAS AQUIN, 4/12/2002; US AIR FORCE, 11/20/2009] 
A year after the attacks, ABC News will report that the “closest fighters” to Flight 93 when it crashes “are two F-16 pilots on a training mission from Selfridge Air National Guard Base” near Detroit, Michigan. These are ordered after Flight 93, according to some accounts, even though they are unarmed. [ABC NEWS, 8/30/2002; ABC NEWS, 9/11/2002] However, other accounts will state that these jets are in fact ordered to intercept another aircraft, Delta 1989, or are simply told to return to their base (see (9:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and (9:56 a.m.-10:29 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 28; MOUNT CLEMENS-CLINTON-HARRISON JOURNAL, 9/6/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 178] 
Stacey Taylor, an air traffic controller at the FAA’s Cleveland Center, will claim not to have seen any fighter jets on radar around the area of the crash. [MSNBC, 9/11/2002] 
Five years after 9/11, Bill Keaton, a Cleveland Center controller who tracked Flight 93 as it flew eastward (see (9:41 a.m.-10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001), will be asked whether there were fighter jets in the vicinity of the plane when it crashed. He will reply, “[T]hat goes beyond the scope of what I can comment on.” (Air traffic controllers reportedly can lose their security clearances if they discuss the movements of military aircraft.) [CLEVELAND FREE TIMES, 9/6/2006]

Entity Tags: Stacey Taylor, Anthony Kuczynski, Bill Keaton, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Paul Weaver Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Day of 9/11 Events, All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

(Before 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 93 Breaks Up Prior to Crash? Flight 93 apparently starts to break up before it crashes, because debris is found very far away from the crash site. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15/2001] The plane is generally obliterated upon landing, except for one half-ton piece of engine found some distance away. Some reports indicate that the engine piece was found over a mile away. [INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002] The FBI reportedly acknowledges that this piece was found “a considerable distance” from the crash site. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15/2001] Later, the FBI will cordon off a three-mile wide area around the crash, as well as another area six to eight miles from the initial crash site. [CNN, 9/13/2001] One story calls what happened to this engine “intriguing, because the heat-seeking, air-to-air Sidewinder missiles aboard an F-16 would likely target one of the Boeing 757’s two large engines.” [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/15/2001] Smaller debris fields are also found two, three, and eight miles away from the main crash site. [INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002; MIRROR, 9/12/2002] Eight miles away, local media quote residents speaking of a second plane in the area and burning debris falling from the sky. [REUTERS, 9/13/2001] Residents outside Shanksville reported “discovering clothing, books, papers, and what appeared to be human remains. Some residents said they collected bags-full of items to be turned over to investigators. Others reported what appeared to be crash debris floating in Indian Lake, nearly six miles from the immediate crash scene. Workers at Indian Lake Marina said that they saw a cloud of confetti-like debris descend on the lake and nearby farms minutes after hearing the explosion…” [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/13/2001] Moments after the crash, Carol Delasko initially thinks someone had blown up a boat on Indian Lake: “It just looked like confetti raining down all over the air above the lake.” [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/14/2001] Investigators say that far-off wreckage “probably was spread by the cloud created when the plane crashed and dispersed by a ten mph southeasterly wind.” [NEWS JOURNAL (WILMINGTON, DE), 9/16/2001] However, much of the wreckage is found sooner than that wind could have carried it, and not always southeast. Entity Tags: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Carol Delasko Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Key Day of 9/11 Events, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

10:05 a.m.-10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Alerted to Flight 93, Reportedly for the First Time The military liaison at the FAA’s Cleveland Center calls NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) and alerts it to the hijacked Flight 93. According to the 9/11 Commission, this is the first notification NEADS receives about Flight 93, but it comes too late, since the plane has already crashed (see (10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 30; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 46 ] 'Bomb on Board' Flight 93 - At 10:05 a.m., the military liaison at the Cleveland Center, who is unaware that Flight 93 has just crashed, calls NEADS to inform it that Flight 93 is heading toward Washington, DC. Even though communicating with NEADS is not one of his responsibilities, he wants to make sure it is in the loop. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 224] At NEADS, the call is answered by Tech Sergeant Shelley Watson. Shortly into the call, at 10:07, the military liaison tells her: “We got a United 93 out here. Are you aware of that?” He continues, “That has a bomb on board.” Watson asks: “A bomb on board? And this is confirmed? You have a mode three [beacon code], sir?” The military liaison replies, “No, we lost his transponder” (see (9:40 a.m.) September 11, 2001). The news about Flight 93 is shouted out to Major Kevin Nasypany, the NEADS mission crew commander. Nasypany responds: “Gimme the call sign. Gimme the whole nine yards.… Let’s get some info, real quick. They got a bomb?” Liaison Wants Fighters Sent toward Flight 93 - The military liaison continues, asking Watson if NEADS scrambled fighter jets in response to Delta 1989, an aircraft that was mistakenly reported as having been hijacked (see (9:28 a.m.-9:33 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and 9:39 a.m. September 11, 2001). Watson replies: “We did. Out of Selfridge and Toledo” (see (9:55 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and 10:01 a.m. September 11, 2001), and says these jets are airborne. When the military liaison asks if the fighters can be directed to where Flight 93 is, Watson asks him if the Cleveland Center has latitude and longitude coordinates for this aircraft. The military liaison replies that he has not got this information available right now. All he knows is that Flight 93 has “got a confirmed bomb on board… and right now, his last known position was in the Westmoreland area.… Which is… in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area.” [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/11/2001; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] NEADS Searches on Radar - The news of a bomb on board Flight 93 spreads quickly at NEADS, and personnel there search for the aircraft’s primary return on their radar screens. But because the plane has already crashed, they will be unable to locate it. NEADS will only learn that Flight 93 has crashed at 10:15 a.m., during a call with the FAA’s Washington Center (see 10:15 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 30-31] FAA Failed to Notify Military Earlier - The Cleveland Center’s notification to NEADS about Flight 93 comes 39 minutes after the plane was hijacked (see (9:28 a.m.) September 11, 2001) and 33 minutes after FAA headquarters was alerted to the hijacking (see 9:34 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 11, 28] At the time NEADS is alerted to Flight 93, NORAD is similarly uninformed about this aircraft, according to the 9/11 Commission. The Commission will state, “At 10:07, its representative on the air threat conference call stated that NORAD had ‘no indication of a hijack heading to DC at this time.’” According to the Commission, the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon learned about the Flight 93 hijacking slightly earlier on, at 10:03 a.m. (see 10:03 a.m. September 11, 2001). However, the NMCC was notified by the White House, not the FAA. [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 42] A former senior FAA executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, will later try to explain why it takes the FAA so long to alert NEADS to Flight 93. He will say, “Our whole procedures prior to 9/11 were that you turned everything [regarding a hijacking] over to the FBI.” [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Yet military instructions contradict this, stating, “In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA.” [US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 7/31/1997 ; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, 6/1/2001 ] NORAD Commanders Claim Earlier Awareness of Flight 93 - Two senior NORAD officials will contradict the 9/11 Commission’s conclusion, and claim they were aware of Flight 93 well before it crashed (see Before 9:36 a.m. September 11, 2001 and (9:36 a.m.-10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [FILSON, 2003, PP. 68, 71-73] Colonel Robert Marr, the NEADS battle commander, will tell the Commission that, while the flight was still airborne, “his focus was on UAL 93, which was circling over Chicago,” and he “distinctly remembers watching the flight UAL 93 come west, and turn over Cleveland.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 10/27/2003 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 1/23/2004 ] Major General Larry Arnold, the commander of the Continental US NORAD Region, will recall, “[W]e watched the [Flight] 93 track as it meandered around the Ohio-Pennsylvania area and started to turn south toward DC.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 71] Entity Tags: Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center, Kevin Nasypany, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Shelley Watson Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Day of 9/11 Events, All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

10:05 a.m.-11:05 a.m. September 11, 2001: Andrews Air Force Base Tower Broadcasts Warnings that Planes Could Be Shot Down The air traffic control tower at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington, DC, broadcasts regular warnings over radio that any aircraft entering the restricted airspace around the capital will be shot down, even though, according to the 9/11 Commission, the president does not authorize the shooting down of threatening aircraft until 10:18 a.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 2/17/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 3/11/2004 ; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 41] The Andrews control tower begins broadcasting warning messages over the Air Traffic Information System (ATIS) at 10:05 a.m. [9/11 COMMISSION, 3/11/2004 ] The ATIS is an automatic information system over which “[p]re-recorded airfield advisory information is automatically transmitted at timed intervals over the airways on a specific frequency.” [US AIR FORCE, 10/1/1999 ] Planes Told They Could Be 'Shot Down' - A 9/11 Commission document summarizing key transmissions from the Andrews tower will show that warning messages are broadcast about once or twice every 10 minutes. The messages, which are all quite similar, include: “No fly notice. Remain clear of Andrews Class B airspace or you will be shot down,” and, “Any aircraft monitoring Andrews Approach Control frequency: remain clear of Andrews Class B airspace or you will be shot down.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 2/17/2004] (Class B airspace is restricted airspace in which no one is supposed to fly without a working transponder and permission from an air traffic controller. The airspace around much of Washington is designated Class B airspace. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/12/2001; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/29/2001] ) Fighter Pilots Hear Warning - At least one of the warning messages is heard by District of Columbia Air National Guard (DCANG) fighter pilots who launch from Andrews Air Force Base at 10:42 a.m. (see 10:42 a.m. September 11, 2001) and by pilots launched from Langley Air Force Base by NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) earlier on (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). DCANG pilots Marc Sasseville and Heather Penney Garcia are flying at low altitude over Washington, while the three Langley pilots are above them at around 20,000 feet. Although they are on different radio frequencies, both sets of pilots hear a message over a shared channel: “Attention all aircraft monitoring Andrews tower frequency. Andrews and Class Bravo airspace is closed. No general aviation aircraft are permitted to enter Class Bravo airspace. Any infractions will be shot down.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 82] Officers Hear Warning - The warning messages are also heard by DCANG officers at Andrews. After hearing that violators of the Washington airspace will be shot down, Brigadier General David Wherley thinks to himself, “I guess that will be us doing the shooting.” [WASHINGTON POST, 4/8/2002; VOGEL, 2007, PP. 446] Apparently referring to the warnings from the Andrews tower, Lieutenant Colonel Phil Thompson will later recall: “We kind of winced at that, because there are plenty of hard reasons to not shoot somebody down. We were really in an ID posture—and trying to really be careful.” [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 9/9/2002] Shootdown Not Authorized until 10:18 - Although the first of the warnings is broadcast at 10:05 a.m., President Bush only gives authorization for hostile aircraft to be shot down at 10:18 a.m., according to the 9/11 Commission, in a phone call with Vice President Dick Cheney (see 10:18 a.m.-10:20 a.m. September 11, 2001). Furthermore, NEADS only learns that NORAD has been given clearance to shoot down threatening aircraft at 10:31 a.m. (see 10:31 a.m. September 11, 2001). The 9/11 Commission document of Andrews tower transmissions will show that the warnings are broadcast until at least 11:05 a.m., although presumably they continue after that. [9/11 COMMISSION, 2/17/2004; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 41-42] Entity Tags: District of Columbia Air National Guard, Heather Penney Garcia, Marc Sasseville, Phil Thompson, David Wherley, Andrews Air Force Base Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

10:06 a.m.-10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001: Some NEADS Staff and Others Uncertain Whether Day’s Training Exercise Is Over Tape recordings of the operations floor at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) indicate that some military personnel are uncertain whether a training exercise that was being conducted on this day has been canceled. NEADS has been participating in a major exercise called Vigilant Guardian. [NEWHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, 1/25/2002] This was reportedly called off “shortly after” the second WTC tower was hit at 9:03 (see (Shortly After 9:03 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [AIRMAN, 3/2002] But at 10:06, someone calls NEADS and asks, “Is the exercise knocked off?” to which they are told, “Yes.” Two minutes later, a member of the NEADS staff is heard saying, “If this is an exercise input, this is a good one.” [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/11/2001] It is around this time that NEADS is first alerted to Flight 93 (although this plane has already crashed) (see 10:05 a.m.-10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001) and also hears a report of an unidentified aircraft over the White House (see 10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001). So presumably it is one of these incidents that is considered a possible “exercise input,” meaning a simulated scenario. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Entity Tags: Northeast Air Defense Sector Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Training Exercises

(10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Flight 93 Crashes into Filled-in Mine in Pennsylvania Countryside

Flight 93 crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside. Resue vehicles arrive in the distance. [Source: Keith Srakocic/ Associated Press] Flight 93 crashes into an empty field just north of the Somerset County Airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, 124 miles or 15 minutes from Washington, D.C. [CNN, 9/12/2001; NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; GUARDIAN, 10/17/2001; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/28/2001; USA TODAY, 8/13/2002; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002; MSNBC, 9/3/2002] The point of impact is a reclaimed coal mine, known locally as the Diamond T Mine, that was reportedly abandoned in 1996. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/12/2001; ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 9/12/2001; PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/11/2002] Being “reclaimed” means the earth had been excavated down to the coal seam, the coal removed, and then the earth replaced and planted over. [KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 121] A US Army authorized seismic study times the crash at five seconds after 10:06 a.m. [KIM AND BAUM, 2002 ; SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 12/9/2002] As mentioned previously, the timing of this crash is disputed and it may well occur at 10:03 a.m., 10:07 a.m., or 10:10 a.m. Entity Tags: NBC, San Francisco Chronicle Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Key Day of 9/11 Events, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(Before and After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Witnesses See Low-Flying, Small White Jet at Flight 93 Crash Site

Looking straight down onto the Flight 93 crash site. North is to the top. Note the impact point north of the road, and the burned trees to the south of it. [Source: FBI] A second plane, described “as a small, white jet with rear engines and no discernible markings,” is seen by at least ten witnesses flying low and in erratic patterns, not much above treetop level, over the crash site within minutes of United Flight 93 crashing. [INDEPENDENT, 8/13/2002]

Lee Purbaugh: “I didn’t get a good look but it was white and it circled the area about twice and then it flew off over the horizon.” [MIRROR, 9/12/2002] 
Susan Mcelwain: Less than a minute before the Flight 93 crash rocked the countryside, she sees a small white jet with rear engines and no discernible markings swoop low over her minivan near an intersection and disappear over a hilltop, nearly clipping the tops of trees lining the ridge. [BERGEN RECORD, 9/14/2001] She later adds, “There’s no way I imagined this plane—it was so low it was virtually on top of me. It was white with no markings but it was definitely military, it just had that look. It had two rear engines, a big fin on the back like a spoiler on the back of a car and with two upright fins at the side. I haven’t found one like it on the Internet. It definitely wasn’t one of those executive jets. The FBI came and talked to me and said there was no plane around.… But I saw it and it was there before the crash and it was 40 feet above my head. They did not want my story—nobody here did.” [MIRROR, 9/12/2002] 
John Fleegle and two work colleagues arrive at the crash site “before any fireman or paramedics or anybody.” According to Fleegle, “When we got there, there was a plane flying up above and he was smart, he flew straight for the sun so you couldn’t look at it and see exactly what type of plane, if it was a fighter or what it was.” However, Fleegle claims the plane “was decent sized. It wasn’t just a little private jet or something like that, from what we could see.” [LAPPE AND MARSHALL, 2004, PP. 35-36] 
Dennis Decker and/or Rick Chaney, say: “As soon as we looked up [after hearing the Flight 93 crash], we saw a midsized jet flying low and fast. It appeared to make a loop or part of a circle, and then it turned fast and headed out.” Decker and Chaney described the plane as a Learjet type, with engines mounted near the tail and painted white with no identifying markings. “It was a jet plane, and it had to be flying real close when that 757 went down. If I was the FBI, I’d find out who was driving that plane.” [BERGEN RECORD, 9/14/2001] 
Kathy Blades, who is staying about quarter of a mile from the impact site, runs outside after the crash and sees a jet, “with sleek back wings and an angled cockpit,” race overhead. [PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 11/18/2001] 
Anna Ruth Fisher says, “After the crash, another jet went near over to look.” Her mother, Anna B. Fisher, adds, “We were looking at the smoke cloud when we saw the jets circling up there.” [KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 27] 
Jim Brandt sees a small plane with no markings stay about one or two minutes over the crash site before leaving. [PITTSBURGH CHANNEL, 9/12/2001] 
Bob Page sees a large plane circling the crash site for about two or three minutes, before climbing almost vertically into the sky. He cannot see what kind of plane it is or if there are any markings on it, but says, “It sure wasn’t no puddle jumper.” [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/12/2001] 
Tom Spinelli: “I saw the white plane. It was flying around all over the place like it was looking for something. I saw it before and after the crash.” [MIRROR, 9/12/2002] 

The FBI later claims this was a Fairchild Falcon 20 business jet, directed after the crash to fly from 37,000 feet to 5,000 feet and obtain the coordinates for the crash site to help rescuers (see 10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001). [PITTSBURGH CHANNEL, 9/15/2001; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/16/2001] The FBI also says there was a C-130 military cargo aircraft flying at 24,000 feet about 17 miles away (see 10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001), but that plane wasn’t armed and had no role in the crash. [PITTSBURGH CHANNEL, 9/15/2001; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/16/2001] Note that this is the same C-130 that flies very close to Flight 77 right as that planes crashes into the Pentagon (see 9.36 a.m. September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Anna B Fisher, Dennis Decker, Anna Ruth Fisher, Bob Page, Susan Mcelwain, Kathy Blades, Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Fleegle, Tom Spinelli, Lee Purbaugh, Jim Brandt, Rick Chaney Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Day of 9/11 Events, All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Before 10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001: Military Liaison Learns of Hijacking of Flight 93 The military liaison at the FAA’s Cleveland Center is informed that Flight 93 has been hijacked and is given information about its location. It is unclear when the liaison first receives this information, but it must happen before 10:07, as he telephones NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) at this time to pass on the information (see 10:05 a.m.-10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 30] Military liaison officers at the FAA’s Command Center are also said to be informed of the hijacking of Flight 93 (see After 9:34 a.m. September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

(10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Local Resident Captures ‘One-of-a-Kind’ Photo of Flight 93 Crash Explosion A local resident is able to take the only photo showing the Flight 93 crash in the seconds after the plane went down. Val McClatchey lives just over a mile away from the crash site. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/12/2006] She is at home watching television when she hears the surge of a plane engine, sees a silver flash outside, and then hears a loud boom that causes her house to shake. Luckily she has her new digital camera ready by her door. She was planning to photograph a friend who had promised to fly over in a helicopter on this day. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 6/29/2003; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/6/2006; TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT (JOHNSTOWN), 9/9/2006] She grabs it and from her front porch manages to take a picture of the smoke cloud rising into the sky, “approximately five seconds after impact,” she says. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/11/2002; WINDSOR PARK STORIES, 3/23/2003] Her photo will appear in numerous newspapers and magazines. According to the FBI, it is the only known image taken within seconds of the crash. Considering the sparsely populated area in which Flight 93 went down, Pittsburgh FBI agent Jeff Killeen calls it “one-of-a-kind.” [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 8/6/2006; TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT (JOHNSTOWN), 9/9/2006; WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/12/2006] Entity Tags: Val McClatchey Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Nearby Cottage Destroyed When Flight 93 Crashes The local structure most severely damaged when Flight 93 crashes in rural Pennsylvania is a stone cottage, an estimated 1,000 feet from the crash site. Located within thick trees, the cottage belongs to Barry Hoover who is away at work at the time of the crash. Reportedly, “every window and door” has been “blown off and obliterated, its ceilings and floor tiles had been blasted loose and much of the interior was wrecked.” Hoover describes it as “like what you see after a tornado or hurricane goes through—a total ruin.” The garage adjacent to it has its door blown off by the shockwave from the crash. According to Somerset County Solicitor Dan Rullo, “The way it was described to me was that it must have been blown up, the springs snapped, and it came back upside down.” The surrounding area is scattered with remains and debris. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/14/2001; KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 122; WASHINGTON POST, 5/12/2002] Entity Tags: Barry Hoover Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

After 10:06 a.m. September 11, 2001: Emergency Dispatch Reports Second Suspicious Plane Heading Toward Johnstown Airport? Soon after Flight 93 has crashed, Sherry Stalley, who is a reporter with a Johnstown, Pennsylvania, television station, is traveling in a car and hears a dispatch over the scanner (a type of radio receiver used by reporters), reporting that apparently another plane, possibly with a bomb onboard, is heading towards the Johnstown airport (located about 14 miles north of the Flight 93 crash site). According to Stalley, “The scanner was jammed with talk. Emergency crews and firefighters were being sent to the airport. Police were being dispatched to shut down roads. Every available unit within a thirty-mile radius was asked to help.” [GILBERT ET AL., 2002, PP. 111] The control tower at the Johnstown airport was evacuated at around 10 a.m., following reports of a suspect aircraft heading towards it (see (Between 9:40 and 10:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: Sherry Stalley Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Michigan Fighters Diverted Toward Flight 1989 At some point after Flight 93 crashes, NORAD diverts “unarmed Michigan Air National Guard fighter jets that happened to be flying a training mission in northern Michigan since the time of the first attack.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/30/2002] The 9/11 Commission concludes these fighters and fighters from Ohio are scrambled for Delta Flight 1989, a flight that was never hijacked or even out of contact. Meanwhile, reportedly, no fighters are scrambled after Flight 93 at all, which has already crashed. [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Fighter Said to Fly Past Flight 93 Crash Site “Up above, a fighter jet streak[s] by,” just after Flight 93 crashes, according to ABC News. [ABC NEWS, 9/15/2002] It isn’t clear what evidence this ABC News claim is based on. There are other accounts of a fighter or fighters in the area before the crash, mentioned previously. Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(10:07 a.m.-10:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001: United Airlines Headquarters Learns of Smoke Plume Rising at Flight 93’s Last Known Location

Hank Krakowski. [Source: Unisys] After seeing Flight 93’s radar track stopping over Pennsylvania, a senior United Airlines official contacts an airport in that area and receives confirmation of what appears to be an airplane crash nearby. Along with other United Airlines managers, Hank Krakowski, United’s director of flight operations, has just been watching Flight 93 on a large screen in the crisis center at the airline’s headquarters, outside Chicago (see (9:36 a.m.-10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). A dispatcher has determined the plane’s last position was south of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, so Krakowski tries phoning the Johnstown airport. However, due to an apparent power failure, there is no reply. He has to call the airport manager’s cell phone number. He asks the manager: “We might have a plane down in your area there. See anything unusual?” The manager reports a black smoke plume visible about 30 miles to the south of the airport. Krakowski thinks, “We just watched one of our airplanes crash.” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 214; USA TODAY, 8/13/2002] Therefore, by 10:15 a.m. according to the 9/11 Commission, United Airlines headquarters has “confirmed that an aircraft [has] crashed near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and [it] believed that this was Flight 93.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 47 ] Entity Tags: United Airlines, Hank Krakowski Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Witnesses Report Lack of Plane Wreckage at Flight 93 Crash Scene

The Flight 93 crater later in the morning. Notice the destruction of the airplane is nearly total. [Source: Associated Press] Numerous individuals who see the Flight 93 crash site describe a lack of plane wreckage:

Jon Meyer, a reporter with WJAC-TV, says, “I was able to get right up to the edge of the crater.… All I saw was a crater filled with small, charred plane parts. Nothing that would even tell you that it was the plane.… There were no suitcases, no recognizable plane parts, no body parts. The crater was about 30 to 35 feet deep.” [NEWSEUM ET AL., 2002, PP. 148] 
According to Mark Stahl, who goes to the crash scene, “There’s a crater gouged in the earth, the plane is pretty much disintegrated. There’s nothing left but scorched trees.” [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 9/11/2001] 
Frank Monaco of the Pennsylvania State Police says, “If you would go down there, it would look like a trash heap. There’s nothing but tiny pieces of debris. It’s just littered with small pieces.” [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/12/2001] 
Scott Spangler, a photographer with a local newspaper, says, “I didn’t think I was in the right place. I was looking for a wing or a tail. There was nothing, just this pit.… I was looking for anything that said tail, wing, plane, metal. There was nothing.” [NEWSEUM ET AL., 2002, PP. 149] 
According to Ron Delano, a local who rushes to the scene after hearing about the crash, “If they hadn’t told us a plane had wrecked, you wouldn’t have known. It looked like it hit and disintegrated.” [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 9/12/2001] 
Gabrielle DeRose, a news anchor with KDKA-TV, views the crash site from a hill overlooking it. She says, “It was very disturbing to think all the remains just disintegrated…. There were no large pieces of airplane, no human remains, no baggage.” [SYLVESTER AND HUFFMAN, 2002, PP. 160-161] 
Local assistant volunteer fire chief Rick King, who sees the crater at the crash site, says, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think half the plane was down there.” King sends his men into the woods to search for the plane’s fuselage, but they keep coming back and telling him, “Rick. There’s nothing.” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 216] 
Bob Craig of the FBI’s evidence-gathering team later explains what is supposed to have occurred: “Turn the picture of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center on its side, and, for all intents and purposes, the face of the building is the strip mine in Shanksville [where Flight 93 crashed].” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 260] When the plane’s two black boxes are later discovered (see September 13-14, 2001), they are reportedly found 15 and 25 feet inside the crater. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 217; WASHINGTON POST, 5/12/2002]

Entity Tags: Gabrielle DeRose, Frank Monaco, Scott Spangler, Ron Delano, Jon Meyer, Mark Stahl, Rick King Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Key Day of 9/11 Events, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001: Langley Pilot Reports Aircraft over White House, Asks NEADS for Instructions

NEADS personnel who are on duty the morning of 9/11. [Source: Vanity Fair] (click image to enlarge) One of the pilots that took off from Langley Air Force Base (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001) calls NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to relay information he has received about an aircraft over the White House, and is promptly instructed to intercept this aircraft. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Borgstrom Wants Instructions - The three F-16s that took off from Langley Air Force Base are now flying in the Baltimore-Washington area. They have just heard a warning over the radio that errant aircraft will be shot down, and received an instruction from the Secret Service to protect the White House (see (10:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). The FAA’s Washington Center also notified them of a suspicious aircraft flying at high speed toward the White House. In response, pilot Craig Borgstrom radios NEADS and asks weapons director Steve Citino for instructions on what to do. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 222-223] Borgstrom says: “Baltimore [the Washington Center] is saying something about an aircraft over the White House. Any words?” Citino replies: “Negative. Stand by,” and then relays Borgstrom’s message to Major James Fox, the leader of the NEADS weapons team. Fox then notifies Major Kevin Nasypany, the NEADS mission crew commander, of the aircraft over the White House. Ordered to Intercept - Instinctively, Nasypany responds, “Intercept!” and he then elaborates, “Intercept and divert that aircraft away from there.” Citino passes this instruction to the Langley fighters, telling them their mission is to “intercept aircraft over White House. Use FAA for guidance.” Fox then adds: “Divert the aircraft away from the White House. Intercept and divert it.” Borgstrom confirms the order, saying, “Divert the aircraft.” Unidentified Aircraft a False Alarm - As the F-16s head for the White House, the NEADS controllers are unable to find the building on their dated equipment, and also have trouble communicating with the Langley pilots. NEADS personnel speculate that the unidentified object is probably just a helicopter or smoke from the burning Pentagon. Minutes later, the suspect aircraft will be realized to probably be one of the Langley fighters, mistakenly reported by a Washington Center air traffic controller who was unaware of the military’s scrambles. Citino will comment: “That was cool. We intercepted our own guys.” [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/11/2001; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Entity Tags: Northeast Air Defense Sector, Kevin Nasypany, Steve Citino, Craig Borgstrom, James Fox Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

After 10:06 a.m. September 11, 2001: Paper Debris Survives Flight 93 Crash

Paper debris found in New Baltimore, six miles from the crash site. [Source: Steve Mellon / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] (click image to enlarge) Despite the apparent lack of plane wreckage and human remains at the Flight 93 crash site (see (After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001 and 10:45 a.m. September 11, 2001), a large amount of paper debris is found there, mostly intact. Faye Hahn, an EMT who responds to the initial call for help, finds “pieces of mail” everywhere. [MCCALL, 2002, PP. 31-32] Roger Bailey of the Somerset Volunteer Fire Department finds mail “scattered everywhere” around the site. He says, “I guess there were 5,000 pounds of mail on board.” [KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 38] Some envelopes are burned, but others are undamaged. Flight 93 had reportedly been carrying a cargo of thousands of pounds of US mail. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 213-214] Whether this is later examined as crime scene evidence is unclear: According to Bailey, over subsequent days, whenever a lot of this mail has been recovered, the post office will be called and a truck will come to take it away. Several of the first responders at the crash site also see an unscorched bible lying open on the ground, about 15 yards from the crash crater. [KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 43, 110 AND 129; ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE, 6/13/2006] Local coroner Wallace Miller will later come across a second bible at the warehouse where the Flight 93 victims’ belongings are kept. [WASHINGTON POST, 5/12/2002] Other paper debris rains down on the nearby Indian Lake Marina (see (Before 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). According to witness Tom Spinelli, this is “mainly mail,” and also includes “bits of in-flight magazine.” [MIRROR, 9/12/2002] Other paper items will be recovered from the crash site in the following days. These include a fragment of Ziad Jarrah’s passport and a business card linking al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to the 9/11 hijackers. [CNN, 8/1/2002; WASHINGTON POST, 9/25/2002] A flight crew log book and an in-flight manual belonging to Lorraine Bay, a flight attendant on Flight 93, will also be recovered. [NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AMERICAN HISTORY, 9/20/2003] Entity Tags: Tom Spinelli, Faye Hahn, Roger Bailey Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Richard Clarke Updated on Fighter Situation, Told Flight 93 Still Headed toward WashingtonEdit

Richard Clarke is told by White House Situation Room Deputy Director Ralph Seigler, “Secret Service reports a hostile aircraft ten minutes out.” Two minutes later, he is given an update: “Hostile aircraft eight minutes out.” In actual fact, when Flight 93 crashed at 10:06 a.m., it was still about 15 minutes away from Washington. Clarke is also told that there are 3,900 aircraft still in the air over the continental US (which is roughly accurate); four of those aircraft are believed to be piloted by terrorists (which is inaccurate by this time). Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Richard Myers then reports:

“We have three F-16s from Langley over the Pentagon. Andrews is launching fighters from the DC Air National Guard. We have fighters aloft from the Michigan Air National Guard, moving east toward a potential hostile over Pennsylvania. Six fighters from Tyndall and Ellington are en route to rendezvous with Air Force One over Florida. They will escort it to Barksdale.”

[1][2]

However, fighters do not meet up with Air Force One until about an hour later (see (11:29 a.m.) September 11, 2001). Franklin Miller, a senior national security official who is working alongside Clarke on 9/11, and another official who is also in the Situation Room, will later fail to recall hearing any warning that a plane could be only minutes away. [NEW YORK TIMES, 3/30/2004] The time of this incident is unstated, but the Michigan fighters are not diverted until after 10:06 a.m. (see (After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). If it takes place after 10:06 a.m., this would parallel similar warnings about Flight 93 after it has already crashed provided to Vice President Dick Cheney elsewhere in the White House (see (Between 10:10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.) September 11, 2001).

10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001: Business Jet Asked to Help Locate Flight 93 Crash Site Edit

Falcon 20 business jet. [Source: Portuguese Air Force] According to some accounts, following a request from the FAA’s Cleveland Center, a Fairchild Falcon 20 business jet reports seeing puffs of smoke in the area of Flight 93’s last known position. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/16/2001; FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, 9/17/2001 ] The FBI later says the business jet was within 20 miles of Flight 93 when it crashed, at an altitude of 37,000 feet, and on its way to Johnstown. It was asked to descend to 5,000 feet to help locate the crash site for the benefit of the responding emergency crews. [PITTSBURGH CHANNEL, 9/15/2001] Stacey Taylor appears to be the Cleveland Center controller who made the request. She later recalls: “I had another airplane [other than Flight 93] that I was working. And I told him, I said, ‘Sir,’ I said, ‘I think we have an aircraft down.’ I said, ‘This is entirely up to you, but if you’d be willing to fly over the last place that we spotted this airplane—and see if you can see anything.‘… So he flew over and at first he didn’t see anything and then he said, ‘We see a great big plume or a cloud of smoke.’” [MSNBC, 9/9/2006] The business jet belongs to VF Corp, a Greensboro, North Carolina clothing firm. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/16/2001] According to David Newell, VF Corp’s director of aviation and travel, Cleveland Center contacted the plane’s copilot Yates Gladwell when it was at an altitude “in the neighborhood of 3,000 to 4,000 ft,” rather than 37,000 feet, as claimed by the FBI. He will add: “They got down within 1,500 ft. of the ground when they circled. They saw a hole in the ground with smoke coming out of it. They pinpointed the location and then continued on.” [POPULAR MECHANICS, 3/2005] This incident occurs around 40 minutes after the FAA initiated a nationwide ground stop, which required planes in the air to land as soon as reasonable (see (9:26 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [TIME, 9/14/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 25] The FBI will claim the VF Corp business jet is probably the plane some witnesses on the ground see up above, shortly after the crash of Flight 93 (see (Before and After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [PITTSBURGH CHANNEL, 9/15/2001] However, at least two witnesses say they saw a plane overhead even before the time of the Flight 93 crash, and one of them describes it as “definitely military,” rather than a business jet. Also, some will describe it as flying much lower than the Falcon 20 was—just “40 feet above my head,” according to one witness. [BERGEN RECORD, 9/14/2001; MIRROR, 9/12/2002] Entity Tags: Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Stacey Taylor, Yates Gladwell Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(Shortly After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: CIA Director Tenet Tells Vice President Cheney Attackers Are ‘Done for the Day’ At some unspecified time, apparently relatively soon after Flight 93 crashed, Vice President Dick Cheney calls CIA Director George Tenet and asks him if he is anticipating any further attacks. Tenet replies, “No. My judgment is that they’re done for the day.” Tenet will later explain his reasoning behind this judgment: “There was a lull in the action, and to me that was telling.… I had no data to go on. But the pattern of spectacular multiple attacks within a very tight attack window was consistent with what we knew of al-Qaeda’s modus operandi based on the East African embassy attacks and others. Events happened within a strict timeline, and then they were done.” Yet at 10 a.m., Tenet had wanted the CIA headquarters evacuated, following reports that several airplanes were not responding to communications and were perhaps heading toward Washington. A large number of the CIA’s workforce had therefore been sent home (see (9:50 a.m.-10:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [TENET, 2007, PP. 164 AND 167] And according to recordings of the operations floor at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) later obtained by Vanity Fair magazine, “inside NEADS there was no sense that the attack was over with the crash of United 93; instead, the alarms go on and on. False reports of hijackings, and real responses, continue well into the afternoon” (see 10:15 a.m. and After September 11, 2001). [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Tenet and his staff will return to the CIA headquarters building at around 1 p.m. after having earlier evacuated to the CIA’s printing plant nearby. By that time, Tenet will say, “The danger was over for the day, in our estimation.” [TENET, 2007, PP. 168] Entity Tags: George J. Tenet, Richard (“Dick”) Cheney Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Dick Cheney

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: CIA Receives Passenger Lists From Hijacked Planes After Initial Problems At some unspecified time after when Flight 93 crashed, CIA Director George Tenet receives the passenger lists for the hijacked planes. He is currently in the CIA’s printing plant, after having evacuated the agency’s headquarters building (see (9:50 a.m.-10:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). An analyst from the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center (CTC) has raced across to the plant with the list, and says, “Some of these guys on one of the planes are the ones we’ve been looking for in the last few weeks.” He specifically points at the names Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi (two of the alleged Flight 77 hijackers). According to Tenet, this is “the first time we had absolute proof of what I had been virtually certain of from the moment I heard about the attacks: we were in the middle of an al-Qaeda plot.” Tenet will later say that after the CTC had first “requested passenger lists from the planes that had been turned into weapons that morning… the initial response from some parts of the bureaucracy (which parts since mercifully forgotten) was that the manifests could not be shared with CIA. There were privacy issues involved.” They were only obtained after some “gentle reasoning, and a few four-letter words.” [TENET, 2007, PP. 167] The agency that provided these lists to the CTC may have been the Customs Office of Intelligence. According to Robert Bonner, the commissioner-designate of US Customs, “through an evaluation of data related to the passengers manifest for the four terrorist hijacked aircraft, Customs Office of Intelligence was able to identify the likely terrorist hijackers. Within 45 minutes of the attacks, Customs forwarded the passenger lists with the names of the victims and 19 probable hijackers to the FBI and the intelligence community” (see (11:00 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 1/26/2004] Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke will claim he was told as early as 9:59 a.m. that the FBI had received the passenger manifests from the airlines (see (9:59 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 13-14] Entity Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, George J. Tenet Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001: Police Helicopter Reports Top of North Tower ‘Glowing Red’; Says Collapse is ‘Inevitable’

A helicopter flying above the burning World Trade Center. [Source: History Channel] Minutes after the collapse of the south WTC tower, police helicopters fly near the North Tower to check on its condition. The pilot of one helicopter radios, “About 15 floors down from the top, it looks like its glowing red,” and adds, “It’s inevitable.” Seconds later, another helicopter pilot reports, “I don’t think this has too much longer to go. I would evacuate all people within the area of that second building.” While these warnings are relayed to police officers, fire and rescue personnel do not hear them, as they operate on a different radio system. [NEW YORK TIMES, 7/7/2002; INTER PRESS SERVICE, 8/25/2005; NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 224 ] The North Tower will collapse 21 minutes later (see 10:28 a.m. September 11, 2001). Entity Tags: World Trade Center, New York City Police Department Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, World Trade Center

(10:06 a.m.-10:25 a.m.) September 11, 2001: FBI Informed of Plane Crash; Agents Head to Flight 93 Crash Scene Wells Morrison is the supervisory special agent in charge of the FBI’s Mon Valley Resident Agency, a satellite of the bureau’s Pittsburgh field office. [PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/13/2003] He receives a call informing him that a plane has crashed in Somerset County. Another phone call informs him that Westmoreland County 911 received a call saying a plane had been hijacked. (This is the call believed to have been from Flight 93 passenger Edward Felt (see 9:58 a.m. September 11, 2001).) He sends an agent out, who quickly seizes the tape of the call from the emergency dispatchers. Morrison also has agents sent to the Flight 93 crash site and subsequently goes there himself, being one of the first FBI agents to arrive at the scene. [WASHINGTON POST, 9/12/2001; KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 109-110] Patrick Madigan of the Pennsylvania State Police, who arrives at the crash site around 10:20 a.m., says the first FBI agent gets there soon after him. Initially, four or five FBI agents will be there. [DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AND THE AIR FORCE NATIONAL GUARD BUREAU, 2002 ; KASHURBA, 2002, PP. 60 AND 110] In the subsequent days, about 150 agents will be involved in the recovery effort (see (September 11-27, 2001)). [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 259] As it is a crime scene, the FBI is in charge of the Flight 93 crash site and the subsequent investigation. [PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/4/2001; PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/17/2002] Entity Tags: Patrick Madigan, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wells Morrison Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Richard Clarke Told of Flight 93 Crash Counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke is told by an aide, “United 93 is down, crashed outside of Pittsburgh. It’s odd. Appears not to have hit anything much on the ground.” The timing of this event is unclear. [CLARKE, 2004, PP. 14-15] Entity Tags: Richard A. Clarke Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, Richard Clarke

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: President Bush Is Told of Flight 93 Crash, Wonders If It Was Shot Down President Bush is told that Flight 93 crashed a few minutes after it happened, but the exact timing of this notice is unclear. Because of Vice President Cheney’s earlier order, he asks, “Did we shoot it down or did it crash?” Several hours later, he is assured that it crashed. [WASHINGTON POST, 1/27/2002] Entity Tags: Richard (“Dick”) Cheney, George W. Bush Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93, George Bush

(After 10:06 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Al-Qaeda Agents Heard Saying ‘We’ve Hit the Targets’ According to Newsweek, “shortly after the suicide attacks,” US intelligence picks up communications among bin Laden associates relaying the message: “we’ve hit the targets.” [NEWSWEEK, 9/13/2001] Entity Tags: Al-Qaeda, US intelligence Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001: FAA Informed that Flight 93 Has Crashed, Confirms Crash Nine Minutes Later According to the 9/11 Commission, the FAA Command Center reports to FAA headquarters at this time that Flight 93 has crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside. “It hit the ground. That’s what they’re speculating, that’s speculation only.” The Command Center confirms that Flight 93 crashed at 10:17 a.m. [GUARDIAN, 10/17/2001; MSNBC, 9/11/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: Federal Aviation Administration Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

(10:08 a.m.-10:10 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Commanders Arnold and Marr Consider Possibility of Shootdown Authorization Two senior NORAD officials, Colonel Robert Marr and Major General Larry Arnold, have to address the possibility of issuing shootdown authorization to fighter jets under their command, after a report is received about an aircraft over the White House. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 224-225] Aircraft over White House - Marr, the battle commander at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) in Rome, New York, is in the NEADS battle cab. On the NEADS operations floor, mission crew commander Major Kevin Nasypany has just learned of a report of an aircraft flying over the White House (see 10:07 a.m. September 11, 2001), and now talks to Marr over the phone. Nasypany asks: “Okay, did you hear that? Aircraft over the White House. What’s the word? Intercept and what else?” Marr has a phone to each ear and does not hear what Nasypany says. Nasypany therefore repeats, “Aircraft… over… the White House!” pausing on each word for emphasis. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 224] Commanders Discuss Shootdown Order - The news of an aircraft over the White House forces Marr and Arnold, with whom he has been communicating, to address the issue of authorizing the shooting down of aircraft. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 225] Arnold, the commander of NORAD’s Continental US Region (CONR), is at the CONR air operations center at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. [CODE ONE MAGAZINE, 1/2002] According to author Lynn Spencer, he has not yet received any instructions from his higher-ups regarding shootdown authorization. “He talked to Major General Rick Findley,” who is at NORAD’s operations center in Colorado, “and asked him to get shootdown authority from the vice president, but he’s still heard nothing back.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 225] Arnold Possibly Authorizes Shootdown - Arnold will later tell author Leslie Filson that he has “the authority in case of an emergency to declare a target hostile and shoot it down under an emergency condition.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 75] But according to Vanity Fair, he only passes the current request for rules of engagement further up his chain of command. [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] However, Spencer will claim otherwise, stating, “In light of the imminent attack on the White House,” Arnold “decides he will exercise the authority he has to protect the nation in an emergency.” He tells Marr: “We will intercept and attempt to divert. If we can’t, then we’ll shoot it down.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 225] Alleged Shootdown Authorization Not Passed On - Minutes later, though, Nasypany will tell his staff that the pilots that took off from Langley Air Force Base (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001) have “negative clearance to shoot” aircraft over Washington (see 10:10 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 31] And according to the 9/11 Commission, NEADS only learns that NORAD has been given clearance to shoot down threatening aircraft at 10:31 a.m., and even then it does not pass this order along to the fighter pilots under its command (see 10:31 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 42-43] Entity Tags: Larry Arnold, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Kevin Nasypany, Robert Marr Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001: Guards Surround the White House Edit

Armed agents deploy around the White House. [CNN, 9/12/2001] Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight UA 93

10:08 a.m. September 11, 2001: Military Cargo Plane Pilot Asked to Verify Flight 93 Crash Edit

in a template

Cleveland Center air traffic controller Stacey Taylor Wikipedia has asked a nearby C-130 pilot to look at Flight 93’s last position and see if he can find anything. Remarkably, this C-130 pilot, Lt. Col. Steve O’Brien, is the same pilot who was asked by air traffic control to observe Flight 77 as it crashed into the Pentagon earlier on (see 9.36 a.m. September 11, 2001). O’Brien tells Taylor that he saw smoke from the crash shortly after the hijacked plane went down.[3] An article in the Independent Wikipedia will later suggest that Flight 93 might have been brought down by the US military using “electronic warfare applications” that can disrupt the mechanisms of an airplane (See August 13, 2002); it will refer to this C-130, since “in 1995 the Air Force installed ‘electronic suites’ in at least 28 of its C-130s—capable, among other things, of emitting lethal jamming signals.” [4]


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