What Happened on September 11, 2001 By Reuters


© Reuters. A general view of the Tribute in Light installation and Ground Zero (R) ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York, United States on September 10, 2021. REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni


(Reuters) – Here’s a timeline for September 11, 2001, when commercial airliners crashed into New York’s World Trade Center twin towers, the Pentagon and, after passengers launched a counterattack, a Pennsylvania field.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed, including more than 2,600 at the World Trade Center, 125 in the Pentagon and 265 in the four planes.


American Airlines (NASDAQ 🙂 Flight 11

0759 EDT: American Airlines 11 departs Boston for Los Angeles

0814: The flight has its last routine communication with the ground

8:19 a.m .: Flight attendant calls the airline’s reservation office in North Carolina via phone and reports an emergency

0841: A duty manager at the American Airlines operations center in Fort Worth, Texas, learns that air traffic controllers have declared the flight a hijacking and believe the plane is heading for the international airport John F. Kennedy of New York.

0844: A North Carolina airline employee loses telephone contact with the flight attendant. Another flight attendant, on a phone call to American’s Boston office, said, “Something is wrong. We’re on a rapid descent.” When asked to look out a window to try to determine where they were, the flight attendant replied, “We are flying way too low.” Seconds later she said, “Oh my God, we’re way too low.”

0846: Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center

1028: The north tower collapses

United Airlines Flight 175

0758: United Airlines 175 departs Boston for Los Angeles

0842: The flight reports a “suspicious transmission” heard from another aircraft (American Airlines 11). This is the last communication of the flight with the ground

0852: A flight attendant calls the airline’s office in San Francisco and reports that the plane has been hijacked, the two pilots killed, a flight attendant stabbed and hijackers who are likely piloting the plane

0858: The flight takes a course towards New York City

0903: The plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center

0958: the south tower collapses in 10 seconds

American Airlines Flight 77

0810: American Airlines 77 leaves Dulles for Los Angeles

0854: The flight deviates from the assigned heading. Two minutes later, the transponder is switched off

9:00 a.m .: An American Airlines executive learns that communications were lost with the flight, making it American’s second aircraft in trouble. All American Airlines flights in the northeast that have not yet taken off are ordered to remain on the ground. American makes ground stop nationwide after learning of missing United Airlines plane

0929: autopilot of flight 77 disengaged

9:34 am: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport informs U.S. Secret Service that an unknown plane is heading for the White House. The plane makes a 330-degree turn and points to the Pentagon and downtown Washington

0937: Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon

United Airlines Flight 93

0842: United Airlines 93 departs Newark for San Francisco

0928: Flight 93 suddenly drops to 700 feet (210 meters). Eleven seconds after the descent begins, air traffic control at Cleveland receives the first of two radio transmissions; the captain or the first officer is heard to declare “Mayday”

0958: Flight 93 passenger assault on hijackers begins

1002: Flight 93 plunges into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Federal Aviation Administration Acts

0906: FAA halts departures of all flights to or through the airspace of airports controlled by New York Air Traffic Control and adjacent control centers

0908: FAA interrupts take-off of all civilian planes in the country

9:45 a.m .: FAA orders all civilian planes to land at the nearest airport as soon as possible; 4,546 flights were in flight


0905: President George W. Bush sits in a classroom in Sarasota, Florida when his chief of staff whispers to him, “A second plane has hit the second tower. America is under attack. Bush stays in the classroom for about five to seven minutes

9:35 a.m .: departure of the presidential procession and arrival at the airport between 9:42 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.

9:54 am: Air Force One leaves without a fixed destination and lands at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana; soldiers surround the plane before Bush gets off. Bush flies to Washington in an Air Force relief jet

* Sources: The 9/11 Commission report https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Exec.htm from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States; the 9/11 Memorial and Museum https://www.911memorial.org/911-faqs; FBI Archives on 9/11 Investigations https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/about-us/history/famous-cases/9-11-investigation/american-airlines-11; Reuters article https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sept11-bush/witness-with-president-bush-after-the-planes-hit-on-sept-11-idUSTRE78A0O920110911, “Witness: With the President Bush after the planes hit on September 11 ”

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