We hope that they will take comfort in knowing that all of America
embraces the passengers and flight crew of Flight 93 as heroes.
FBI spokesman announcing to victim's
families that the FBI would not release full
Cockpit Voice Recorder tapes or transcripts1
On the morning of September 11, 2001 terrorists hijacked four airplanes. One, United Airlines Flight 93, did not reach the hijackers' intended destination - which was apparently Washington D.C. The tragedy could have been much worse. We can be thankful that this airplane instead crashed into rural Pennsylvania - probably saving hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.
Countless stories have been told of the heroic actions of the passengers of Flight 93. Their bravery cannot be diminished. It has been well documented - both in their phone calls home to their families during the hijacking and in the few snippets of conversation released by the government from the cockpit voice recorder - that they stormed the cockpit in an attempt to wrest control from the hijackers. They were determined not to let their plane be used as a weapon of mass destruction.
What has not been documented are the questions surrounding the final fatal plunge of United Airlines Flight 93. Amazingly, the national news media shows no interest in finding out why Flight 93 crashed. We have recovered both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, but this information has been withheld - despite requests by the victims' families that it be released.
A day after the crash, a second debris field was discovered miles away from the main crash site, but the implications of this have been ignored. This secondary debris field indicates that something caused United Airlines Flight 93 to start to break up in the air, before it hit the ground. During the crisis the all-news channels (CNN, MSNBC, FOX News) would repeat the same stories over and over again. The news of the second debris field was carried on TV once and never went into rotation like all the other stories from that day. Few reports can be found anywhere other than local Pennsylvania newspapers.
Residents and workers at businesses outside Shanksville, Somerset County, 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. 2
The spread of wreckage over the ground considered in the context of the local terrain can tell us quite a lot about the arrival of the aircraft in terms of the amount of energy and the nature of the flight immediately prior to hitting the ground ... If the aircraft starts to break up in the air, particularly at significant height, then it will start to distribute pieces that will travel with the wind and be spread over sometimes many hundreds of square miles.
David F. King, Principal Inspector
England's Air Accidents Investigation Branch3
The military launched fighters to intercept the hijacked planes at both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but with scant notice they arrived too late. In the case of Flight 93 the military was notified nearly an hour before the plane eventually went down - yet denies it had any planes in the vicinity at the time of the crash.
When numerous witnesses came forward saying there was clearly another jet nearby - so close that it must have seen the whole crash - the government said that a civilian Lear jet was asked to do some reconnaisance. It is difficult for some to believe this. The military was in a state of alert; civilian craft were being grounded; commercial craft diverted; jet fighters scrambled - and the asset we relied upon was a civilian Lear jet that should already have been on the ground? As I said, some find this hard to believe.
"If you were here to see it, you'd have no doubt," Dennis Decker said. "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." 4
It is even harder to believe after learning that an air traffic controller told a reporter on the day of the crash that an F-16 was tracking the plane. Unfortunately, you won't learn this unless you read the Nashua Telegraph (air traffic controllers in Nashua, New Hampshire were in charge of Flight 93 when it went down). This story was never picked up by the national media either.
Although controllers don't have complete details of the Air Force's chase of the Boeing 757, they have learned the F-16 made 360-degree turns to remain close to the commercial jet.
"He must've seen the whole thing," the employee said of the F-16 pilot's view of Flight 93's crash.5
By 10 am on September 11th we were prepared, understandably, to shoot down any hijacked plane before it could become another weapon of mass destruction. The President made this tough decision. His orders were relayed to the scrambled fighter pilots. Washington was to be defended at all costs. The hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were headed towards Washington.
I gave our military the orders necessary to protect Americans, do whatever it would take to protect Americans.
President George W. Bush6
It should be pointed out that the last phone call from Flight 93 was from a passenger saying there had been an explosion onboard. The government has never explained this report of an explosion. A terrorist aboard the plane also claimed to have a bomb - perhaps he did. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder should explain whether there was an explosion - and probably its cause.
"We got the call about 9:58 this morning from a male passenger stating that he was locked in the bathroom of United Airlines Flight 93 traveling from Newark to San Francisco, and they were being hijacked," said Glenn Cramer, a 911 supervisor.
"We confirmed that with him several times and we asked him to repeat what he said. He was very distraught. He said he believed the plane was going down. He did hear some sort of an explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane, but he didn't know where.
"And then we lost contact with him."7
Flight 93 crashed at 10:06 AM. No calls were made from the plane in those final 8 minutes.
The available evidence indicates that something happened aboard or to that plane before it nosedived. Something. Maybe the passengers managed to initiate an explosive decompression. Maybe the terrorists exploded a bomb. Perhaps a violent aerial maneuver from a struggle in the cockpit caused part of the plane to break off. Perhaps the government shot it down. The only thing we know is that the story has received virtually zero coverage since that day.
Why? Is there someone standing before the American public shouting out Jack Nicholson's line from A Few Good Men -- "You can't handle the truth!" If so, what other truths has it been deemed we can't handle?
1 Accuracy In Media
2 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Record (Bergen County, NJ) Sept. 14, 2001
Available through NEXIS
5 Nashua Telegraph
6 Associated Press
7 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Invaluable resource: http://www.geocities.com/flight93crash/
United Airlines Flight 93
Cee Cee Lyles
Deborah Anne Jacobs Welsh
LeRoy Homer, Jr.
Colleen L. Fraser
Donald and Jean Peterson
Donald F. Greene
Edward Porter Felt
Georgine Rose Corrigan
Honor Elizabeth Wainio
Kristin Gould White
Louis J. Nacke II
Mark Mickey Rothenberg
Patrick Joe Driscoll
Thomas E. Burnett Jr.
Ahmed Al Haznawi
Saeed Al Ghamdi