The tragic events of September 11, 2001, unfolded rapidly and resulted in devastating consequences. It all began when terrorists successfully passed through security screening in Portland, Maine. There were a total of 19 terrorists who would later be split among four different planes. It is important to note that before 9/11, airports were not required to record security checkpoints, and knives with blades less than 4 inches were allowed on flights.
The first hijacked flight to take off was American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston Logan International Airport. This flight had 11 crew members, 76 passengers, and five hijackers on board. Shortly after takeoff, a passenger was stabbed in first class, prompting flight attendant Betty Ann Ong to alert ground personnel about the hijacking using an in-flight phone. Ong’s call lasted approximately 25 minutes. Meanwhile, flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney called her friend, a manager at Boston Logan International Airport, to provide crucial information about the hijacking and a description of the hijackers.
United Airlines Flight 175, also taking off from Boston, Massachusetts, was the second hijacked flight. This plane had nine crew members, 51 passengers, and five hijackers. At this time, one of the hijackers unintentionally transmitted a message meant for those on board the plane to air traffic control. The pilot of Flight 175 noticed this unintended transmission and reported it to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Similarly, American Airlines Flight 77, carrying six crew members, 53 passengers, and five hijackers, also departed from Boston Logan International Airport.
Meanwhile, a significant number of workers had already arrived at the World Trade Center in New York City. Conferences were underway, and preparations were being made for events scheduled later in the day. Boston’s air traffic control center alerted the military to the hijackers’ message. The final hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 93, took off from Newark, New Jersey, after experiencing a delay due to regular traffic.
The horrifying tragedy that unfolded on September 11, 2001, demonstrates the urgency and chaos of the situation. The terrorists managed to bypass security measures, hijack four planes, and carry out their devastating attacks. This day marked a turning point in history and forever changed the world.