Editor in chief:
CLARA MOSCHINI

Airplanes and terrorism: on September 11, 2001

Rome, Italy - Since then the world approach changed to the safety-security topic

September 11 is a tragic date in the history. That day different terrorist attacks of Al Qaeda hit the USA, and all were made through the hijacking of civil aviation airplanes. That day 19 terrorists took the control of four airliners: two B-767, the American Airlines 11 flight and United Airlines 175, that crashed against the "Twin Towers" of the World Trade Center in New York. The American Airlines 77 flight fell against the Pentagon, while the UA 93 didn't fall against the planned target thanks to the reaction by passengers, but crashed in any case near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Probably the target of this last attack was the Capitol or the White House. Both airplanes were B-757s. The devastating attack was without any doubt against the World Trade Center. The AA11 flight, took off at 7:59 from "Edward Lawrence Logan" in Boston, with 81 passengers (5 hijackers among them) and 11 crewmembers on board, hijacked at 8:11, was the first to hit against the "Twin Towers", despite two F-15 fighters were taken off from Otis, Massachussetts, to intercept the plane that was hijacked as certainty. At 8:21 the hijackers had turned off the transponder. At 8:40 the F-15 took off and five minutes later arrived near Long Island, but without the help of the transponder, were pending on a visual contact that will never happen. At 8:46 the B-767 airplane crashed at around 490 mph, between the 93rd and 99th floor of the North tower. Despite the immediate evacuation, the people on the upper floors were trapped and it was impossible to escape. Some died for suffocation, others fell onto the ground. The dense smoke impeded to the helicopters to land on the roof of the tower. Due to the first news, the hijacking of the other airplanes was considered initially as a consequence of the first attack, thinking to the emergency landing. The same Bush who in the morning was waited in a "Emma E Booker" elementary school in Sarasota, in Florida, continued regularly his program, despite he had received information of the attack. Initially there was probably an undervaluation of the event's dimension. At 9:02 the UA175 flight was noticed by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) in NY, took off also this from Boston at 8:14, with 56 passengers (5 of them were hijackers) and nine crewmembers, also this hijacked. Initially it could be an airplane with difficulty, shortly after it becomes clear to all that the aircraft wanted to crash. The alarm is general, but only a minute later the UA175 flight crashed at around 590 mph between 78th and 84th floor of the World Trade Center, filmed live on tv. At 9:05 FAA ordered the total flyover ban above NY, Boston, Cleveland and Washington. The AA77 flight, previously disappeared, and hijacked also it, reappears on the primary radar in Indianapolis, but the controllers didn't notice it. A minute later Bush was updated about the situation but he continued, despite the secret services asked him to leave the building, the planned program. At 9:07 FAA issued the order to block all the doors of the cockpits; three minutes after AA and UA decided to block all own airplanes at ground. In the successive minutes the chaos was great: at 9:21 FAA in Indianapolis founded out that almost two airplanes were hijacked, while the FAA in Boston contacted NEADS (North East Air Defense Sector), attesting that the AA77 flight would be crashed against World Trade Center and that the AA11 flight was still in flight towards South. At 9:24 two F-16s took off from Langley, Virginia, with the order to place them before between Washington and AA11 flight, that actually was crashed 40 minutes before against World Trade Center. A minute later FAA in Herndon forbids the take off to any airplane on the American territory. Bush at 9:30 held a short conference inside the school, asked a minute of silence saying that a tragedy is ongoing and that immediately will return in Washington. Five minutes later the Congress was evacuated and also the "Ronald Reagan" airport in Washington DC; Bush finally abandoned the school. The AA77 flight crashed at 9:37 against the Pentagon at around 528 mph, entering in the first two rings of the ground and first floors, but the builing is almost empty in that sector. At 9:41 also the transponder of the UA93 flight was turned off. At 9:42 ATC Zero was entered into force in all US States, the total ban of taking off and flyover, the international airplanes were redireced towards Canada that only three minutes after, decided to take the same measure with the "Yellow Ribbon" operation, with the only exception of the international flights that landed in the USA. The White House was evacuated at the same time. In a world live, at 9:59 the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. A huge dust and debris cloud in the air. Four minutes after, after only six minutes from the revolt by passengers, the UA93 flight crashed in Shanksville, probably due to the same hijackers, almost were lost. In the following minutes the skies in Washington are controlled by the American aviation, that has the order to shoot down any hijacked airplane; also the UN building in NYC was evacuated. At 10:28 also the North tower of the World Trade Center collapsed; those were above the 98th floor dead, together with 343 firemen and 60 policemen were committed for the evacuation. After many hours and a frenetic day, Bush returns at the White House and from here at 8:30pm was in Tv to speak to all Americans. In total there were about 3000 dead and 6500 wounded. The moral and material (in particular for NY) damages will be very deep and shooting.

fra/pec - 1206889
World Aeronautical Press Agency
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