On the morning of 11th September 2001, 19 members of the terrorist organisation Al-Quaeda boarded 4 commercial planes: American Airlines Flight 11 which left Logan International Airport, Boston at 7.59am bound for Los Angeles, United Airlines Flight 175 which left Logan International Airport, Boston at 8.14am also bound for Los Angeles, American Airlines Flight 77 which left Washington Dulles International Airport at 8.20am bound for Los Angeles and United Airlines Flight 93 which left Newark international airport at 8.42am bound for San Francisco.
On all planes the terrorists overpowered cabin staff and took control of the aircraft. At 8.46am American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Emergency services rushed to the scene of what was thought to be a terrible accident. However, shortly afterwards, at 9.03am United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center and it was realised that the planes had been deliberately flown into the building. President Bush who was visiting an elementary school in Florida was alerted and made a statement condemning the attacks and vowing to put all available resources to tracking down the perpetrators of the plot.
After American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon at 9.37am the Federal Aviation Administration closed American airspace forcing the grounding of more than 3,000 aircraft. The passengers on board United Airlines Flight 93 had been told that there was a bomb on board the plane and that they were returning to Newark. Many of the passengers on board spoke to loved ones before making a unanimous decision to try to overpower the hijackers. It is believed that the hijackers deliberately crashed the plane into a field in Pennsylvania at 10.03am rather than allow the passengers to overpower them.
In New York the situation at the World Trade Center was horrific. Thick black smoke was pouring out of both towers and people in both buildings above the impact floors were trapped. Efforts were made to evacuate all people in both buildings but time was against the effort and the South Tower collapsed at 9.59am. Twenty-nine minutes later at 10.28am the North Tower also collapsed.
The day claimed the lives of thousands of people:
246 passengers on board the 4 hijacked planes
60 Police Officers
15 Emergency Aid Workers
1,366 people in the North Tower of the World Trade Center
710 people in the South Tower of the World Trade Center
125 people working at the Pentagon