The collapse of the South Tower

 


September 11, 2001 was the United Nations International Day of Peace and the first day of Culture of Peace Week.      [www.peaceday.org]




All times are Eastern Daylight Time.  For many of the events of 9/11, there are minor time discrepancies in different accounts.  In these cases, I've chosen the time from what seems to be the most reliable source.




==On the morning of September 11, weather conditions over the entire eastern seaboard are clear, with virtually limitless visibility.  Throughout the continental United States the weather is generally tranquil.      [tele.Dec.16.2001 / ust.Aug.12.2002]

Atta (right) and al-Omari begin their day,
going through security at the Portland airport


==0604-0645 AM > After nearly missing their plane, Mohamed Atta and his colleague al-Omari fly from Portland, Maine, to Logan Airport in Boston.      [mcder / inside / 911cm]

==Early morning > For various minor reasons, ten of the nineteen hijackers - including Atta - trigger special screenings as they go through airport security.  None are detained.  Hijackers Almihdhar and Alhazmi are being sought by the FBI and are on the terrorist watch-list, but they are able to board Flight 77.      [911cm / wap.Mar.02.2002 / nwd.Sep.23.2001]

==0759 AM > American Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 11 crew and 81 passengers, takes off from Boston’s Logan Airport for Los Angeles, 14 minutes after its scheduled departure time.  There are five hijackers on board, including Mohamed Atta and al-Omari.      [911cm / bog.Nov.23.2001 / wap.Sep.12.2001]

==0814 AM > United Flight 175, a Boeing 767 with 9 crew and 56 passengers, takes off from Logan for LA, 14 minutes after its departure time.  Among the passengers are five hijackers, including trained pilot Marwan Al-Shehhi.      [911cm / bog.Nov.23.2001 / wap.Sep.12.2001]

==0814 AM > The 9/11 attacks begin: Flight 11 is hijacked over central Massachusetts by Atta and his assistants, who slash a passenger’s throat, stab two flight attendants in first class, and enter the cockpit.  The plane soon begins to deviate northwest from its planned course and fails to respond to air traffic controllers.  At 0821, Flight 11 cuts off its transponder.  Strangely, most of the passengers in the main cabin are evidently unaware that a hijacking is underway.      [0911cm / abc.Jul.18.2002 / inside / cbs.Oct.12.2001]

==0819 AM > Flight attendant Betty Ong calls American Airlines staff on the ground and reports the hijacking of Flight 11, followed a few minutes later by flight attendant Amy Sweeney.  Ong and Sweeney spend their last minutes giving detailed eyewitness accounts, providing information that establishes links to Mohamed Atta and al-Qaeda. Managers at American Airlines headquarters in Fort Worth are aware of the calls by 0830, but they fail to transmit the news.     [911cm / abc.Jul.18.2002 / nyob.Jun.20.2004]

==0820 AM > American Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 6 crew and 58 passengers, takes off from Washington's Dulles Airport for Los Angeles, 10 minutes after its scheduled departure.  There are five hijackers on board, including Nawaq Alhazmi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Hani Hanjour.  Alhazmi will pilot the plane for the hijackers.      [911cm / bog.Nov.23.2001 / wap.Sep.12.2001 / gdn.Sep.09.2002]

==0824-0838 AM > The Flight 11 hijackers accidentally intermittently broadcast their voices over the radio.  Boston air traffic controllers hear the inadvertent transmission, realize that they're dealing with a hijacking on Flight 11, and send warnings up the FAA chain of command.  A hijacker is heard saying "We have more planes. We have other planes," but the controllers don't yet grasp what he means - only after 0900 AM do FAA officials realize that they're dealing with multiple hijackings.      [bog.Nov.23.2001 / 911cm / csm.Sep.13.2001]

==0828 AM > Flight 11 veers toward New York City, flying south down the Hudson River valley.      [csm.Sep.13.2001 / inside]

==0830 AM, approximately > In the last minutes before Flight 11 hits the North Tower, key US government officials and military officers are widely scattered.  President Bush is in Sarasota, Florida, promoting the administration's education proposals.  Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld are all in their offices - the first two in the West Wing of the White House, and the latter at the Pentagon.  Secretary of State Powell is in Lima, having breakfast with the president of Peru.  CIA Director Tenet is having breakfast and counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke is attending a conference - in both cases, they are three blocks from the White House.  General Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is flying to Europe.  Attorney General Ashcroft is flying to Milwaukee.  The new FBI Director, Robert Mueller, and Transportation Secretary Mineta are both in their respective offices in Washington.  FEMA Director Allbaugh is in Montana.      [wap.Jan.27.2002 / clarke / sencc.Sep.20.2001 / abc.Sep.14.2002]

==0838 AM > The military first learns of the hijackings when the FAA's Boston Center notifies the regional headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) of the hijacking of Flight 11.  NORAD is undergoing a training exercise and is already in a high state of readiness, but it has no plans for dealing with this unforeseen situation.      [911cm]
=Immediately after NORAD learns of the hijacking, the two F-15s on alert at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod are placed on battle stations. See 0846      [mcder]

==0842 AM > United Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 7 crew and 37 passengers, takes off from Newark for San Francisco, 42 minutes after its scheduled departure and more than 25 minutes late. The delay will give the passengers the opportunity to learn what happened to the other hijacked planes before their turn comes.  There are four hijackers on board, including Ziad al-Jarrah.      [911cm / bog.Nov.23.2001 / wap.Sep.12.2001]

==0842 AM > About this time Flight 175 is hijacked over northern New Jersey.  A brief emergency signal is sent, the plane veers off course, and soon afterwards its transponder code is altered.  Repeated attempts to contact the plane go unanswered.  At 0852, United ground personnel get a call from a distraught flight attendant, who says "Oh my God. The crew has been killed, a flight attendant has been stabbed. We've been hijacked." - and then the line goes dead.      [nyt.Oct.16.2001 / inside / bog.Nov.23.2001 / 911cm]

==0844 AM > The last customers to leave alive take the elevator down from Windows on the World Restaurant on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.      [nyt.May.26.2002]
=Just before the first plane hits, it is estimated that there are between 16,400 and 18,800 people in the World Trade Center complex, including about 14,100 in the Twin Towers.      [911cm / dwyer]

==0845 AM > Still communicating with an American Airlines ground manager, flight attendant Sweeney on Flight 11 says "I see the water. I see the buildings. I see buildings," and notes that the plane was flying very low.  The ground manager said that at that point "She took a very slow, deep breath and then just said, 'Oh, my God!' Very slowly, very calmly, very quietly. It wasn't in panic… Seconds later, there was a very, very loud static on the other end."      [abc.Jul.18.2002]

Flight 11 strikes the North Tower


==0846:31 AM  > Mohamed Atta crashes American Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At the instant of impact, a man quietly eating breakfast at a restaurant several blocks away sees all the pigeons in the street suddenly take flight. The plane comes in from the north at about 470 miles per hour, striking the 93rd through 99th floors and flying directly into the offices of Marsh & McLennan. Fragments of the airliner and thousands of gallons of burning aviation fuel explode through the impact zone and erupt out the south face of the tower. Some debris lands as far as five blocks away. Fireballs shoot down elevator shafts and burst out on several lower floors, including the lobby. The North Tower leans from the impact, sways back and forth several times, and then manages to right itself - but more than half of its exterior and interior support columns have been destroyed by the crash, and the remaining steel trusses have lost their insulation and are exposed to the intense heat of the fire. Aviation fuel pours down stairwells, elevator shafts, and the sides of the building. The blast and fire instantly kill about 300 or more people, and trap 1,000 or more survivors in the upper floors or just under the impact zone. Many elevator passengers are killed or trapped. The uppermost stories of the North Tower very quickly begin to fill with smoke.      [dwyer / 911cm / nyt.Sep.12.2001+May.26.2002 / inside / endur / ust.Sep.04.2002]
=Immediately after the North Tower is struck, rescue operations are begun by some Port Authority Police and a couple of NYPD officers who happen to be on the scene.     [911cm]
=Above the 91st floor of the North Tower no one gets out alive, but below the damaged area, the great majority survive -  only about 5% of the deaths at the WTC occur below the impact zone (not including airline and rescue personnel fatalities). Port Authority Police order the North Tower evacuated within three minutes of the plane crash, though people in the building at the time of impact don't need to be told to leave. Despite the 1993 bombing, there had been no plans or drills for a full-building evacuation - nonetheless, the improvised mass evacuation is handled efficiently. Most Port Authority workers evacuate smoothly: "Nobody pushed. We literally made our way down 67 floors in a conga line," said one trainee. The agency reassembles in Jersey City and is functioning again within a couple hours. Altogether, about 12,000 people make it safely out of the two towers.        [nyt.May.26.2002 / 911cm / wap.Sep.13.2001 / spti.Sep.08.2002 / dwyer]
=In the neighboring South Tower, people near windows facing the North Tower feel the intense heat of the fireball. Hundreds of office workers immediately begin to leave the building - one makes it all the way from the upper floors of the South Tower to Brooklyn in the 16 minutes before the second plane hits. Other personnel hesitate. People generally left or stayed - and lived or died - in groups; for example, at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, on the 88th and 89th floors, nearly all the investment banking staff leave, while nearly all the equities traders stay.  Many employees make the decision to stay or go by following the lead of their bosses. See 0855 AM      [nyt.May.26.2002 / ust.Sep.03+Sep.06.2002 / dwyer]

==0846:43 AM > In what may be the first emergency call after the attack, Fire Chief Joe Pfeiffer radios in a level-two alarm to the Fire Department only twelve seconds after Flight 11 hit the North Tower, by which time he is already on his way to the scene. Pfeiffer had been working nearby and had witnessed the crash - a French documentary filmmaker who happened to be with him caught the impact explosion on film. By 0859 it is expanded to a five-alarm, the highest alarm level possible in New York City.  See 0850 AM      [dwyer / inside]
=At 0847 AM, the first call to 911 reports a "building explosion."  At 0850:12 AM, the Fire Department's Emergency Management Service logs the message "MC STS (male caller states) -- PLANE JUST FLEW INTO WORLD TRADE CENTER---POSS COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE."  This is followed by a flood of emergency calls, many directly from desperate victims trapped in the towers, and the 911 system soon become overwhelmed. In the confusion, some emergency operators advise callers from the Towers to stay where they are rather than evacuate, advice that was fatal in some cases.      [nydn.Sep.16.2001 / inside / 911cm]
=Other emergency services are unaware of the attack for several minutes. Around 0850, a woman in Connecticut who had been called by her trapped husband conveys his information to a local 911 service. Apparently thinking it’s a crank call, the operators laugh and tell her "Oh yeah, we'll make sure we pass along the message."      [nyt.May.26.2002]
=Ezra Aviles, a Port Authority senior manager on the 61st floor of the North Tower, watches Flight 11 approach and crash into the building. He immediately begins making a series of phone calls to police and to Port Authority officials, giving some of the first clear descriptions of what has happened and urging a building evacuation. Aviles does not make it out of the tower before its collapse.      [dwyer / nwd.Oct.11.2001]
=The men and women trapped in the North Tower quickly begin sending cell phone or e-mail communications to their families, friends, and co-workers. The group stranded in Windows on the World alone transmits at least 41 messages within the first few minutes. It's been estimated that about a third of the people trapped in the towers are able to send final messages.      [dwyer / nyt.May.26.2002]

==0846 AM > Just as Flight 11 hits the North Tower, Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod receives orders from NORAD to scramble fighters.  Otis is 153 miles from Manhattan.  See 0853 AM       [911cm]

==0848 AM > The first news reports of the 9/11 attacks are broadcast, with CNN evidently providing the earliest television coverage. CNN Anchor Carol Lin breaks the story: "This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. CNN Center right now is just beginning to work on this story, obviously calling our sources and trying to figure out exactly what happened. But clearly, something relatively devastating happening this morning there on the south end of the island Manhattan."      [bbc.Sep.14.2001 / cnn.Sep.11.2001]
=The very early news reports are often garbled and not all announcers fully grasp what’s happening.  Just after the first crash, a frightened group of office workers temporarily trapped on the wrecked, smoke-filled 89th floor of the North Tower hear DJs on a radio talk show laughing and joking about kamikazes hitting the World Trade Center.      [nyt.Sep.16.2001 / inside]

==0848 AM > New York City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) begins to activate the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate response to the disaster. Unfortunately, the Center had been located in the World Trade Center at the insistence of Mayor Giuliani and despite the advice of some emergency-response experts. Around 0930 AM, the $13 million, state-of-the-art OEM Center is evacuated because of a false report that a third hijacked airliner is approaching.     [911cm / dwyer]

==0848 or 0849AM > The first people fall or jump from the North Tower. The earliest jumpers plunge from around the impact zone, probably fleeing the intense heat of the fires, but soon people are falling from the upper stories, desperately trying to escape the smoke. "They looked like rag dolls being tossed. Their bodies were lifeless; just twirling in the air, dressed in suits," one observer recalled. A man and woman are seen holding hands as they fall; one woman jumps clutching her purse. Some of those hanging out of broken windows may have been nudged out by the crush of people trying to gasp clean air. Probably over 50 individuals plunge to their death from the North Tower before it collapses, and at least one person on the ground, firefighter Daniel Suhr, is struck and killed by a jumper. Few people jump from the South Tower.      [dwyer / nyt.Sep.16.2001+ May.26.2002 / wap.Sep.16.2001 / wiki]

==0850 AM > An airline pilot flying near New York radios "Anybody know what that smoke is in Lower Manhattan?"      [ap.Oct.16.2001]

==0850 AM >  Fire Chief Joe Pfeiffer arrives at the North Tower, the first fire commander on the scene. A command post is set up in the lobby. A senior OEM official arrives at about the same time.      [dwyer / 911cm]

==0850 AM, approximately > Near the White House, CIA Director Tenet is having breakfast with former Senator David Boren when several of Tenet's security guards rush to the table and tell him that the World Trade Center has been "attacked" by an airplane. Tenet comments to Boren "You know, this has bin Laden's fingerprints all over it." Before leaving, he adds "I wonder if it has anything to do with this guy taking pilot training," in a reference to Zacarias Moussaoui.      [abc.Sep.14.2002 / woodw1]

==0852 AM > The first police helicopter arrives over the World Trade Center. Its reports on the extent of damage to the North Tower are not passed on to the Fire Department.     [dwyer]

==
0853 AM > Two F-15s take off from Otis Air Base on Cape Cod.  Without a clear target at this time, they are initially ordered into a holding pattern off Long Island. See 0925 AM.      [911cm]

==0853 AM, approximately > Flight 77 is hijacked over southern Ohio - it begins to turn back to the east, cuts off its transponder, and fails to respond to air traffic controllers.  When they loose track of it, FAA controllers in Indianapolis - who are still unaware of what’s happening in New York - initially assume that the plane has crashed. Flight 77 flies eastwards toward Washington, undetected until 0932.     [911cm / wap.Sep.12.2001 / nwd.Sep.23.2001]

==0855 AM > An announcement is made over the South Tower's public address system: "Your attention please, ladies and gentlemen. Building 2 (the South Tower) is secure. There is no need to evacuate Building 2…" (See 0902 AM) The message reflects the prevailing theory that emergency evacuations from high-rise buildings pose more dangers than having people stay put. A man with a megaphone in the 44th floor sky lobby tells those leaving to return to their offices. Many people who were evacuating go back upstairs. A very few minutes before the South Tower is hit, a woman who was on her way out of the building is last seen by her friends as she turns away from a half-empty elevator and heads back to her upper-story office to retrieve some pictures of her baby.     [dwyer / nyt.May.26.2002]
=On the Port Authority Police phone line, different officers give completely different advice on evacuation to callers from the towers. When an official from Morgan Stanley calls, he fortunately happens to get an officer who urges an immediate evacuation. The 2,500 Morgan Stanley employees who occupy 22 floors of the South Tower are soon heading down the stairs to safety.      [dwyer / workkn.Dec.17.2001]
=The evacuation of the South Tower was finally ordered just before 0900 AM, nearly simultaneously by the fire chiefs and by the Port Authority Police. These instructions may not have reached officials in the South Tower before the second plane hit.      [911cm / dwyer]

==0855 AM > President Bush’s motorcade arrives for a scheduled appearance at Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Bush learns that a plane has hit the North Tower either immediately upon his arrival at the school or just before. He assumes that the crash was an accident, briefly confers by phone with National Security Adviser Rice and then goes ahead with his planned visit to a second grade classroom, which he enters just after 0900 AM.      [sarm.Sep.19.2001 / ap.Nov.26.2001 / sarht.Sep.10.2002]

==0857 AM > Firefighter scouts begin climbing the stairs of the North Tower, followed 10 minutes later by heavily equipped fire companies.  By about 0900 AM, the Chiefs of Department for the Fire Department, the NYPD, and the Port Authority Police are on the scene, and hundreds of firefighters, police, and other emergency personnel have arrived or are on the way. (See 0915 AM) FDNY officials have virtually no information about conditions near or above the impact zone, but they quickly decide that it’s impossible to fight a fire of this magnitude and they instead concentrate on rescue operations. They are well aware that the situation is highly dangerous. One chief later said "We had a very strong sense we would lose firefighters and that we were in deep trouble, but we had estimates of 25,000 to 50,000 civilians, and we had to try to rescue them." There is talk of a possible eventual partial collapse of the upper floors, though this is not seen as imminent. No one imagines that there could be a full collapse.      [911cm / dwyer]

==0858 AM > A police helicopter determines that it’s impossible to land on the smoke-shrouded roof of the North Tower. A pilot who later tries to hover directly over the building reports that the intense heat would destabilize any helicopter that attempted to approach the roof. At 0908 AM, NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito orders helicopters not to try to land on the towers. In any event, New York City has no plans for large-scale helicopter evacuations.      [911cm / dwyer]

==0858 AM > Hijacked Flight 175 takes a heading toward New York City. At about 0900, a man calling his mother from the plane says passengers are considering storming the cockpit. Another passenger making a last call to his father says "I don't think the pilot is flying the plane - I think we are going down - I think they intend to…fly into a building - Don’t worry, Dad - If it happens, it'll be very fast."     [911cm]

==0900 AM > American Airlines stops all take-offs in the northeast US.      [911cm]

==0901 AM > Around this time, about 25 people trapped on the 89th floor of the North Tower are freed by an impromptu rescue crew led by Port Authority employees Frank De Martini and Pablo Ortiz. The crew works its way through the floors beneath the impact zone, saving the lives of at least 70 people before the tower collapses. De Martini and Ortiz do not survive.      [dwyer]

==0901 AM > Desperately trying to alert FAA leadership that multiple hijackings are underway, a New York manager tells the FAA’s Herndon Command Center "We have several situations going on here. It's escalating big, big time."      [911cm]

==0901 AM, approximately > Air traffic controllers on Long Island tracking an unidentified plane - Flight 175 - approaching from the southwest suddenly grasp that it's not heading for an airport.  A controller who realizes what's about to happen shouts "Oh, my God! He's headed for the city! Oh, my God! He's headed for Manhattan!"      [wap.Sep.21.2001]

==0902 AM > A few seconds before the South Tower is hit, an announcement is made over the building's public address system: "If the conditions warrant on your floor, you may wish to begin an orderly evacuation."      [dwyer]
=Minutes before, Stanley Praimnath of Fuji Bank and several bank executives had been turned back by a security guard in the ground floor lobby as they tried to leave the South Tower.  Now back at his desk on the 81st floor, Praimnath is talking on the phone when he glances out the window and sees an airliner, close-in and heading directly toward him.  He screams and dives under his desk just as the nose of Flight 175 crashes into the 81st floor 130 feet away.      [nyt.May.26.2002 / dwyer]
 

Flight 175, an instant before it
impacts the South Tower


==0902:59 AM > United Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  It is at this point that it becomes clear that the disaster is an unfolding terrorist attack rather than a freak aviation accident.  A week later, Martin Amis writes in the Guardian "That second plane looked eagerly alive, and galvanized with malice, and wholly alien… its glint was the worldflash of a coming future." As in the first crash, the airliner literally flies into the Tower - "it's like the building swallowed up the plane," said one eyewitness. The plane strikes the south face of floors 77 to 85, hitting its target about 100 mph faster and at more of an angle than Flight 11. The second plane’s higher impact speed is likely to have inflicted greater damage on the South Tower’s central support beams; it also causes much of the fuel to spray outside and explode in immense fireballs. A man driving north out of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel sees the SUV in front of him get hit by one of the plane’s enormous landing wheels. About 200 people are killed when the plane hits the South Tower; around 400 are trapped in the upper floors.     [dwyer / 911cm / gdn.Sep.18.2001 / nyt.May.26.2002+Sep.16.2001 / peop.Sep.12.2001]
=There are probably well over a hundred people milling around the elevators at the 78th floor sky lobby when a violent explosion blasts through, shattering the walls and the elevators, hurling fragments of glass and debris, and engulfing the large room in searing heat and smoke. Most of those present are killed instantly; there are perhaps two or three dozen people left alive in the ruins of the lobby, many of them horribly injured, with another 18 sealed in an elevator. Around 0920 AM, an energetic young man - apparently equities trader and volunteer fireman Welles Crowther - appears in this hellish setting and begins rescue operations, at least twice guiding groups of walking wounded down the stairs toward safety. Fourteen survivors of the carnage on the 78th floor manage to escape the South Tower. Crowther stays in the building till the end; months later his remains are found in the wreckage of the ground floor lobby with several firefighters.      [nyt.May.26.2002 / ust.Sep.03.2002 / dwyer]
=One damaged stairwell remains open from the upper floors through the impact zone for at least half an hour. Stanley Praimnath is rescued from the wreckage of the 81st floor by a Euro Brokers executive from the 84th floor, and they make their way down the stairs to safety. Two other survivors from the 84th floor - the upper part of the impact zone - also get out this way. It's not known if Welles Crowther (see above) came downstairs from his office on the 104th floor before the crash, or if he managed to make his way through the impact zone afterwards. There's no indication that anyone else on the upper floors was aware of the escape route.        [911cm / dwyer / ust.Sep.06.2002]
=After the South Tower is hit, the 80 elevator mechanics on duty at the twin towers leave - 'on their own initiative,' as one article put it. Since they are needed to open some of the locking devices, the mechanics' departure means that many of the people stranded in elevators are almost impossible to rescue.      [ust.Sep.04.2002]
=Flight 175’s crash is witnessed by thousands of observers who have been watching the burning North Tower. Bystanders panic and flee, but within a few minutes crowds again begin to gather in the area, silently gaping at the unfolding catastrophe despite warnings from the police.      [nyt.Sep.12.2001]

==0903 AM > The FAA notifies NORAD that Flight 175 has been hijacked, at about the same time that Flight 175 is crashing into the South Tower.      [911cm]

==0903-1100 AM, approximately > The height of confusion and chaos on 9/11 occurs in the two hours or so after the South Tower is hit.

==0904 AM > The FAA stops all departures from airports in New England and eastern New York.      [faa]

Bush is informed of the second crash


==0905 AM > Visiting an elementary school classroom in Florida, President Bush learns of the second crash when White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card very briefly whispers in the president’s ear that a second plane has struck the World Trade Center and that "America's under attack." Bush does not respond, but instead sits silently for several seconds with a concerned expression, and then has the children go ahead with their planned reading exercise.  He remains in the classroom for about eight minutes or more, listening to a story about a pet goat and then complimenting the students on their reading skills and urging them to be good citizens.  The Secret Service makes no attempt to hustle Bush out of the school.      [nyt.Sep.16.2001 / tamt.Sep.01.2002 / gl&m.Sep.12.2001]

==0906-0908 AM > The FAA halts all takeoffs for flights going to or through New York airspace.  At 0906 AM, the FAA notifies all air traffic controllers nationwide that Flight 11 had been hijacked. Also at about this time, American Airlines stops all takeoffs, nationwide.  United Airlines soon does the same.  An American executive describes the mood in corporate headquarters as the order is given: "I never sensed any fear or panic. We were too shell-shocked." A few minutes later, both airlines order all planes in flight to land at the nearest available airport.      [faa / nwd.Sep.23.2001 / 911cm / wsj.Oct.15.2001]

==0907 AM > FAA controllers in Boston urge the FAA’s Herndon Command Center to alert pilots to secure their cockpits.  Herndon evidently ignores the request.     [911cm]

==0910 AM > Around this time, NORAD is frantically trying to arm and scramble all available fighters, while its radar technicians are desperately searching for possible hijacked aircraft among thousands of radar images and its phones are jammed with calls from military commanders and political leaders.  Temporarily, there is considerable confusion. Not until after about 1100 AM is there a fairly ample number of fighters in the air.      [avw.Jun.03.2002]

==0910 AM, approximately > By about this time, major online news sites are becoming inaccessible due to the massive surge in viewer traffic. See News Coverage/Communication       [dmu.Sep.11.2001 / fark.Sep.11.2001]

==0912 AM > A passenger on Flight 77 calls her mother, warning that the plane has been hijacked. The passenger’s parents quickly notify American Airlines. Some minutes later, conservative commentator Barbara Olson places two calls to her husband Ted - the Solicitor General - from Flight 77.  Ted Olson unsuccessfully tries to contact Attorney General Ashcroft.      [911cm]

==0912 AM > Office papers from the damaged towers are already reported to be drifting over Brooklyn.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==0915 AM, approximately > More than 1,000 firefighters from over 225 units and more than 100 fire trucks respond to the alarms at the World Trade Center. In fact, the number of firefighters arriving at the site is far greater than the chiefs at the scene had requested, to the point where parking becomes difficult. By about 0915 AM there are command posts in each of the Twin Tower lobbies, a third in the lobby of the neighboring Marriott Hotel, and a fourth on nearby West Street. The Fire Department is already having trouble communicating with companies climbing the stairs, especially in the North Tower. Coordination between the NYPD and the FDNY is extremely poor - one source says "They did not bicker; they simply did not communicate."    [dwyer / inside / 911cm / nyt.May.26.2002 / pbs]
=Many survivors above the impact zones in both towers unsuccessfully try to get to the roofs. In the South Tower about 200 people climb to the uppermost floors, only to find that the doors to the roof are locked.      [nyt.May.26.2002 / dwyer]

==0916 AM > There are reports of cell phone outages in New York City from about this time.      [freerep.Sep.11.2001]

==0918 AM, approximately > Reports are circulating that the New York Stock Exchange is being evacuated. The Stock Exchange normally begins trading at 0930 AM, but the attacks on the World Trade Center have thrown the nearby financial district into confusion. The NYSE's communications system is later badly disrupted by the collapse of the towers. See 0425 PM      [freerep.Sep.11.2001 / dowjbn.Sep.11.2001 / ap.Sep.11.2001]

==0918 AM > The United Nations is being evacuated.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==0919 AM > Acting on his own initiative, a United flight dispatcher begins broadcasting warnings to his flights to beware of cockpit intrusions.  One of his planes is Flight 93, which receives the warning at 0924, four minutes before they are attacked.     [911cm]

==0920 AM > At FBI headquarters in Washington, a hastily assembled team of 250 agents begins investigating the 9/11 attacks.  Examining the passenger lists of the hijacked flights, the FBI links some of names with al-Qaeda in less than an hour, and soon notices that several Arabs on the lists - including Mohamed Atta - had recently lived in Germany. See 110 PM.      [inside / clarke]

==0921 AM > In the prevailing confusion, the FAA erroneously informs NORAD that Flight 11 did not crash into the North Tower, but is still in the air and heading toward Washington. Responding to this false report (and still unaware of the approaching threat of Flight 77), NORAD orders Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to scramble fighters at 0924. No attempt is made to alert or evacuate possible targets in Washington, including the Pentagon.  See 0930      [911cm / cnn.Sep.17.2001]

==0921 AM > The Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in the New York area.      [cnn.Sep.12.2001]

==0923 AM > Caught in Windows on the World in the North Tower, Bill Kelly uses his Blackberry to e-mail his supervisor: "We're trapped on 106th flr. But apparently fire dept is almost here."      [nyt.May.26.2002]

==0925 AM > The heads or acting heads of key federal departments begin an emergency video conference, coordinating the government’s immediate response to the attacks. Chaired by counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke in the White House Situation Room, it’s fully underway by 0940 when the CIA and the FAA join in, but at first there is no contact with the military. The tense conference continues throughout the day and into the night. Initially, there are fears that there will be multiple attacks, at home and abroad.     [clarke / 911cm]

==0925 AM > The two fighters from Otis Air Base arrive over New York City.      [911cm]

==0926 AM > The FAA halts departures of all aircraft nationwide - civilian, military, and law enforcement - with a few special exceptions.  The momentous decision to call an unplanned national ground stop - the first in American history - is made by FAA national operations manager Ben Sliney, who also makes the decision to shut down all air traffic at 0945.  September 11 is Sliney’s first day on the job.      [faa / time.Sep.14.2001 / ust.Aug.13.2002]

==0928 AM > Just as United Airlines is ordering its planes out of the air, Flight 93 is hijacked over eastern Ohio, evidently by a sudden attack on the cockpit. Cleveland air traffic controllers hear calls of "Mayday," scuffling, shouts, and screams in transmissions from the cockpit. Within minutes, a hijacker is heard over the radio telling passengers to remain calm. During the takeover, both pilots are murdered as well as at least one passenger.  Passengers soon begin reporting the hijacking in dozens of cell phone calls - and from these calls they learn the fates of the other hijacked planes.      [msnbc.Jul.30.2002+Sep.03.2002 / 911cm / obs.Dec.02.2001]

==0928 AM > False reports that a third hijacked airliner is approaching New York City briefly disrupt the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center. The approaching plane proves to be a military aircraft.      [dwyer]

==0929 AM > A high-level military teleconference is underway. The conference call lasts for eight hours and at different times involves the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Deputy National Security Adviser.  But the conferees are initially unable to reach FAA Headquarters.      [911cm]

==0930 AM, approximately > The FAA’s command center is compiling a list of planes suspected of having been hijacked, which will include seven untouched planes in addition to the four genuine hijack victims.  Until about 1100 AM, FAA managers are facing the nightmarish prospect of a long series of hijacked flights, which might have to be shot down.      [ust.Aug.13.2002]

==0930 AM, approximately > The upper floors of the North Tower are becoming thoroughly choked with smoke, and fires are breaking out in the stairwells. The number of phone calls from the upper floors of the towers is dwindling.      [nyt.May.26.2002]
=Below the impact zones, the evacuations of the twin towers are winding down by this time. The North Tower has largely been cleared, and only a few hundred office workers are still making their way out of the South Tower. In 1993, full building evacuations of the towers took ten hours; in 2001, the improvised evacuations are nearly completed in less than an hour. Firefighters are climbing through the lower floors of the North Tower. Their ascent into the South Tower is greatly speeded up after 0918 AM, when they find a functioning elevator that operates up to the 40th floor.      [dwyer]

==0930 AM > The Empire State Building is shut down.  The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are also closed about this time.      [nyt.Sep.12.2001]

==0930 AM > Still at Booker Elementary in Sarasota, Bush makes his first public statement on the 9/11 attacks. Saying that he will return directly to Washington, he briefly announces that there has been "an apparent terrorist attack on our country," and vows "to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act."      [ap.Sep.11.2001 / wap.Sep.13.2001]

==0930 AM > The Director of the Secret Service urges that President Bush be prevented from immediately returning to the capital. Richard Clarke passes the request on to Cheney and Rice by about 0940 AM, and also asks that the Air Force be given authorization to shoot down threatening aircraft. Soon afterwards, Clarke requests combat air patrols over every major American city.      [clarke]

==0930 AM > Two F-16s take off from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. They are ordered north toward Baltimore to intercept the non-existent hijacked flight that is reportedly approaching the capital from the north, (see 0921 AM) but in the confusion they wind up going east over the ocean.  Langley is 130 miles from Washington; Andrews AFB is only 15 miles away, but has no planes on alert status.  See 0936    [911cm / gdn.Sep.17.2001]

==0932 AM > Air traffic controllers at Washington’s Dulles Airport detect a fast-moving unidentified aircraft approaching the capital from the west - which proves to be the missing Flight 77. The Secret Service is notified at 0933.     [911cm]

==0933 AM > At the Pentagon, a man watching news reports of the World Trade Center attack tells bystanders "You know, the next best target would be us."      [wap.Sep.12.2001]

==0934 AM > FAA headquarters is notified of the hijacking of Flight 93.     [911cm]

==0936 AM > Only now does the FAA notify NORAD that an unidentified aircraft (Flight 77) is closing in on Washington.  The two F-16s from Langley that have been mistakenly flying east are urgently ordered back to capital, but they are still about 150 miles away when the Pentagon is hit.      [911cm]

==0936 AM > Two Secret Service agents literally pick up Vice-President Cheney by his arms and drag him into the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) bunker under the White House. Condoleezza Rice, Scooter Libby, Karen Hughes, and other administration officials also take refuge in the PEOC. They have difficulty participating in Richard Clarke’s ongoing emergency video conference, since Cheney's wife keeps turning down the volume so she can listen to CNN.      [911cm / nyt.Oct.16.2001 / wap.Jan.27.2002 / clarke]

==0936 AM > Around Cleveland, Flight 93 veers off course and begins heading back toward Washington. Its intended target is most likely the US Capitol, or less probably the White House.      [msnbc.Sep.03.2002 / gdn.Sep.09.2002]

The Pentagon on fire


==0937:46 AM > After smoothly executing a 360-degree turn over the Potomac, American Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, coming in very low, hitting the west face at 530 miles per hour, and piercing three of the building’s five concentric rings. The plane hits an area of Army and Navy offices that had recently been renovated and strengthened, and is still only partly occupied. 125 Pentagon workers are killed, in addition to the 64 passengers on the plane, although some early reports estimate as many as 800 fatalities.      [911cm / cbs.Sep.21.2001 / csm.Sep.17.2001 / wap.Sep.12.2001 / bbc.Sep.14.2001]

==0940 AM > A caller trapped in the upper stories of the South Tower reports that the floors are buckling.      [nyt.May.26.2002]

==0941 AM > Confused about which plane transmitted the sounds of struggle that actually came from Flight 93, the FAA warns NORAD that Delta Flight 1989 (Boston to Los Angeles) may have been hijacked. This is the first of many false hijacking reports. After Flight 1989 lands in Cleveland at 1010 AM, it's quarantined for several hours until anxious security personnel determine that there are no terrorists or bombs aboard.      [911cm / ust.2002.08.13]

==0942 AM, approximately > False reports begin to appear that Palestinian terrorist groups are claiming credit for the attacks. The Palestinian groups promptly and emphatically deny that they are responsible.      [fark.Sep.11.2001 / dmu.Sep.11.2001 / ottc.Sep.11.2001]

==0943 AM > The White House is evacuated.  The initially orderly evacuation dissolves into panic as Secret Service agents begin screaming at people to run. Women are told to take off their shoes to run faster; staffers are told to pull off their White House id badges to avoid being targeted by imaginary al-Qaeda snipers. A White House guard is heard shouting "Incoming, incoming, get out of here!" "The fear on these guys' faces was unbelievable," said one onlooker. Soon, the only people left around the building are Cheney, Rice, and other officials who’ve withdrawn to the safety of the White House bomb shelter (the PEOC) and a small group with Richard Clarke in the unprotected Situation Room, who refuse to evacuate. Otherwise the White House is empty - even the internal guard posts are abandoned. Calls made to the White House switchboard connect to a recording asking callers to hold for an operator, after which the line goes dead.      [wap.Sep.12.2001+Jan.27.2002 / nyt.Sep.12+Sep.17.2001 / bro&c.Aug.26.2002 / clarke]
=At about the same time, very shortly after the Pentagon crash, the House Sergeant-at-Arms orders the immediate evacuation of the Capitol Building.  Some members of Congress huddle under trees in a park across from Senate office buildings.      [csm.Sep.17.2001]

==0945 AM > Calling his wife by cell phone from Flight 93, Tom Burnett says that he and a group of passengers are planning to take action against the hijackers.  Soon afterward, the men on board vote to retake the plane.      [longm / torsu.Sep.16.2001]

==0945 AM > The FAA shuts down all US commercial air traffic, and the nearly 4,000 planes in the air - almost a third of all airliners in the world - are soon landed at the nearest available airports. In the next 15 minutes, controllers reroute over 1,100 flights; in the next hour, 75% of all planes in the air are landed. Costs associated with this immense disruption of service deal a very heavy blow to the already ailing airline industry.      [faa / bog.Aug.12.2002 / ust.Aug.13.2002]

==0945 AM > By about this time Chicago's Sears Tower - the tallest building in America - is being evacuated.      [fark.Sep.11.2001 / freerep.Sep.11.2001 / dmu.Sep.11.2001]

==0945 AM > There are false news reports of a fire on the Washington Mall.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==0946 AM > There are false news reports that the USA Today Building in Washington is on fire.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==0949 AM > NORAD orders all combat aircraft to battle stations, fully armed.     [911cm]

==0949 AM > The two F-16s scrambled from Langley arrive over Washington, reinforced an hour later by three fighters from Andrews AFB.  The planes from Andrews have little or no ammunition, but all three pilots later state that if necessary they were prepared to ram an incoming aircraft.      [avw.Jun.03+Sep.09.2002 / cnn.Sep.17.2001]

==0949 AM > With Flight 93 an estimated 26 minutes from Washington, the FAA has still not asked NORAD for military assistance against the approaching plane. At 0949, the following exchange takes place:
      FAA Command Center: Uh, do we want to think, uh, about scrambling aircraft?
      FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, I don’t know.
      FAA Command Center: Uh, that’s a decision somebody’s gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.
      FAA Headquarters: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room.    
The FAA never does inform NORAD about Flight 93.     [911cm]

==0950 AM, approximately > George Tenet orders the evacuation of CIA Headquarters. Only the Global Response Center, which monitors intelligence on terrorism, remains in the building.      [woodw1]

==0950 AM > At about this time, a Buildings Department engineer on the scene reports that the twin towers appear to be in imminent danger of total collapse.  This assessment - the first clear warning that the towers could fall - reaches the FDNY Chief of Department seconds before the South Tower collapses.      [911cm / dwyer]
=At the South Tower, the intensifying fires on the 80th floor are melting pieces of Flight 175, and molten aluminum is dribbling down the outside of the building. The 83rd floor appears to be progressively drooping onto the 82nd. In a final phone call about this time, a man trapped on the burning 80th floor tells a friend "It don't look too good, Bobby Mac."      [dwyer]

==0951 or 0952 AM > After a grueling climb up the South Tower stairwells, Fire Chief Orio Palmer reaches the devastated 78th floor sky lobby, at the lower edge of the impact zone. A few of Palmer's men venture as high as the 79th floor. Firefighters are trying to free 18 people trapped in an elevator in the sky lobby when the building collapses at 0958 AM.      [911cm / dwyer]

==0953 AM > The NSA intercepts a phone call from an al-Qaeda operative concerning the 9/11 attacks, indicating that he knew a fourth plane was to be hijacked.  This intercept soon draws Rumsfeld’s attention.  See 0240 PM      [cbs.Sep.04.2002]

==0954 AM > Air Force One departs from Sarasota, evidently without a fighter escort for over an hour. The Secret Service, Vice President Cheney, and Chief of Staff Card advise Bush not to return to Washington, but the issue is still undecided and the plane takes off with no fixed destination, circling around Sarasota for almost an hour. See 1032 AM      [0911cm / clarke / csm.Sep.17.2001]

==0955 AM > Richard Clarke activates the Continuity of Government program, which provides for the evacuation of key government officials to safe sites. See 1000 AM.      [clarke]

==0956 AM > Greg Milanowycz, who’s been calling his father’s office from the 93rd floor of the South Tower, says "The ceiling is caving. The ceiling is caving."  Then the connection is broken.      [nyt.May.26.2002 / dwyer]

==0957 AM > A portion of the Pentagon collapses.     [911cm]

==0957 AM > Passengers on Flight 93 attack the hijackers.  The hijackers try to knock the attackers off balance by flying erratically, but the passengers keep up a sustained assault on the cockpit.  See 1003 AM      [911cm] 

==0958 AM, approximately > By now, nearly all the civilians who were able to leave the South Tower have done so, although above the 50th floor there are still some badly injured survivors from the sky lobby straggling downstairs. Probably somewhat less than 100 firefighters are in the building, spread out from the lobby up to the impact zone.      [911cm / dwyer / nyt.Jul.07.2002]

The South Tower’s dust cloud


==0958:59 AM > The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, killing everyone in the building as well as a number of people on the concourse, in the Marriott, and on neighboring streets. There is a sudden ear-splitting noise. "First, a sharp crack and then what sounded, oddly, like a waterfall, thousands of panes of glass shattering as the north side of the tower buckled," recalled a reporter. The tower seems to list, and then begins to come down, exploding floor by floor and obscuring itself in dust with "a slow, building rumble like rolling thunder that will not stop as the tower cascades toward the ground."  "It felt for a moment as if the entire city was going to crumple into the ocean," wrote one witness. Standing at the foot of the tower, brokerage executive Howard Lutnick describes it as "the loudest thing I had ever heard - like a jet engine right in my ear." Watching from Brooklyn, novelist John Updike says "It sank down as if somebody had yanked it." The building falls in ten seconds, hitting the ground at nearly the speed of free-fall. The more than 200,000 cubic yards of concrete in the structure are pulverized by the force of the collapse and explode outward in a gigantic cloud of silicate dust, as bystanders desperately flee. An AP reporter on the scene wrote "Windows shattered. People were screaming and diving for cover. People walked around like ghosts, covered in dirt, weeping and wandering dazed." As the smoke dissipates and it can be seen that the tower has vanished, an elderly woman gasps "It can't be. It just can't be. Where did it go? Oh, lord, where did it go?" A man approaches the immense pile of rubble and calls out ''Is anyone there? Show me an arm. Show me an arm.'' There is no response.      [911cm / nyt.Sep.12+Sep.15+Sep.16.2001 / wire.Sep.11.2001 / bbc.Sep.14.2001 / inside / wap.Sep.14.2001 / ap.Sep.11.2001]
=The Marriott Hotel, adjacent to the South Tower, is nearly cut in two by the collapse and at least 40 firefighters are killed or trapped there. The lobby area of the North Tower is also badly damaged. The North Tower shakes violently, but almost no one inside it realizes that the other tower has fallen. The collapse of the South Tower forces officials to abandon command posts in the North Tower lobby, the Marriott, and the nearby streets, temporarily throwing rescue operations into confusion.      [dwyer / 911cm]    
=Mayor Giuliani and some of his aides are nearly trapped by the collapse of the South Tower when the nearby office building they’re in is damaged and fills with smoke.  They escape through the basement and a network of tunnels.  A few minutes later they are forced to run from the immense dust cloud released by the collapse of the North Tower.      [nyt.Sep.14.2001]

South Manhattan, late morning of September 11


==1000 AM > Rescue personnel are moving up through the eerily deserted middle floors of the North Tower, some as high as the 54th floor.      [dwyer / 911cm]
=Despite the chaos caused by the fall of the South Tower, within a minute Fire Chief Pfeiffer manages to broadcast orders to immediately evacuate the North Tower, though he still doesn't know the other tower has fallen. Some of the firefighters hear the commands and turn back - one chief on the 35th floor uses a bullhorn to shout into stairwells: "All FDNY, get the fuck out!" But many firefighters in the building never hear the evacuation orders, and many of those who are aware of them don’t know that the South Tower has collapsed and feel no sense of urgency.  See 1015 AM       [911cm / dwyer]  

==1000 AM, approximately > Speaker of the House Hastert - second in line in presidential succession - is evacuated from Washington and flown to a fortified redoubt in Virginia.  Evacuation of key federal personnel is generally haphazard.  See midday      [wap.Sep.13.2001]

==1000 AM > There are false reports of a fire at the State Department - original source unknown.      [ottc.Sep.11.2001]

==1003:11 AM > Flight 93 crashes in rural Pennsylvania, near Shanksville, after witnesses observe it flying erratically at high speed. Evidently, the frantic hijackers deliberately crashed the plane just as the passengers were about to break into the cockpit. Horrified personnel at the United Airlines crisis center "watched it until the end of the radar track ... and then, poof.  We didn't have time to cry." News reports of the crash begin circulating about a half hour later.      [911cm / wsj.Oct.15.2001]
=Since the fighters patrolling over Washington at this time had no shootdown orders (see 1010-1015), it is likely that Flight 93 would have hit its intended target - probably the Capitol Building - if it hadn't been brought down by the passenger revolt.      [911cm]

==1006 AM > Secret Service agents armed with automatic weapons are patrolling Lafayette Park across from the White House.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==1006 AM > There are several erroneous news reports that there was another explosion prior to the collapse of the South Tower, or that another plane crashed into the base of the tower.      [dmu.Sep.11.2001 / fark.Sep.11.2001 / freerep.Sep.11.2001]

==1007 AM > Capitol police order a mandatory evacuation of all House and Senate office buildings.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==1007-1008 AM > NYPD helicopter pilots report that the North Tower is "glowing red" in the impact zone and that collapse appears "inevitable." The reports are transmitted to police, but Fire Department radios can't pick up police transmissions.      [dwyer]

==1010-1015 AM > During this time frame Cheney orders the Air Force to shoot down Flight 93, unaware that the plane has already crashed. Cheney later claimed that he had gotten Bush's consent for the order about five minutes earlier, but 911 Commission investigators reportedly concluded that the Vice President acted without authorization. Unknown to Cheney, his shootdown order is inoperative since he didn’t send it through the regular chain of command. The order generates a great deal of confusion and is not communicated to the pilots patrolling over New York and Washington until later, if at all.     [911cm / nwwk.Feb.27.2006]

==1010 AM, approximately > The Coast Guard closes all harbors in the United States.     [clarke]

==1012 AM > False reports from CNN of an explosion on Capitol Hill. The story is soon retracted.      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==1015 AM > Minutes before the collapse of the North Tower, there are as many as 100 firefighters and some civilians resting on the 19th floor. Emergency personnel retreating down the stairs repeatedly urge them to evacuate the building, but the men on the 19th floor seem indifferent to the warnings. Other firefighters, told by police to evacuate, respond that they don't take orders from cops. Still others refuse to leave the building while some of their buddies are still inside. In one case, a group of firefighters who have descended to the lobby turn around and go back upstairs to help search for FDNY personnel.      [nyt.May.26.2002 / 911cm / dwyer]

==1015 AM > Emergency workers briefly evacuate the Pentagon crash site in response to reports of an another hijacked plane approaching Washington - the first of three such false warnings of approaching planes that occur before noon.     [911cm]

==1019 AM > A police helicopter reports that the top of the North Tower is buckling and leaning.      [dwyer]

==1020 AM, approximately > Chris Young, a temp from Marsh & McLennan, has been stranded in an elevator on the ground floor of the North Tower since the first plane crash, oblivious to the disasters unfolding around him. He manages to free himself after about ninety minutes, and emerges to find that the clean, bright, busy lobby has been inexplicably transformed into a ruin that's littered with debris, covered in several inches of concrete dust, and completely deserted. Shaken and confused, Young makes his way outside through a shattered window, looks up at the tower, and sees that the floors where he was working earlier that morning are now belching fire and smoke.      [dwyer / ust.Sep.04.2002]

==1020 AM > New York City Transit decides to halt all subway service. Subway station announcements say the closings are caused by "an incident in Manhattan."  Buses are jammed, but continue to run, and many subway lines resume in the afternoon.      [nyt.Sep.13.2001]
 
==1021 AM > The FAA orders the diversion of all inbound international flights, mostly to Canada.  But the Canadian air system is itself soon shut down, and some international flights run dangerously low on fuel before the Canadians relent and let them land.      [time.Sep.14.2001]

==1022 AM > State Department, Justice Department, and World Bank offices are evacuated in Washington. Almost immediately, there are false reports of a car bomb explosion at State. Still in video conference, Richard Clarke asks Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage if his building has been bombed. Armitage responds “Does it fucking look like I’ve been bombed, Dick?”      [cnn.Sep.12.2001 / bro&c.Aug.26.2002 / clarke]

==1022 AM > A newscaster on Washington's WTOP radio reports "A plane went overhead… some sort of jet, maybe it was a military plane. But everywhere you looked, people were looking up into the sky with concern and fear on their faces that this might be another incoming terrorist attack. Just mind-boggling."      [bro&c.Aug.26.2002]

==1023 AM > Fire begins rapidly spreading in the North Tower, engulfing floors above the impact area. The number of people jumping from the smoke-filled upper floors is accelerating.       [nyt.May.26.2002]

==1024 AM > About five fire companies reach the ground floor of the North Tower and stand about in the lobby, uncertain what to do next. One firefighter who was aware that the South Tower had already fallen convinces them to leave. Just as they’re walking out the doors, the North Tower begins to collapse.     [911cm]

==1027 AM, approximately > Under the impact zone, the North Tower has long since been largely evacuated, though some elderly, injured, or disabled people are still making their way out. A group of 16 Port Authority employees who were delayed by contradictory advice from emergency operators are only now descending the stairs. About another two dozen office workers are still trapped in rooms in the 80s, and others are probably stuck in stalled elevators. As many as 200 firefighters are still in the building, as well as other emergency personnel.      [911cm / dwyer]

==1028:25 AM > The North Tower of the WTC collapses, largely completing the destruction of the neighboring 22-story Marriott Hotel (3 World Trade Center), and partly wrecking many surrounding buildings.  Another immense dust cloud is released - even thicker than the first, by some accounts.  As the dust dissipates, bystanders stand numbly staring at the empty space where the towers had been. The site of the Twin Towers has been transformed into Ground Zero, a 16 acre debris field with 2 billion pounds or more of rubble, described by a reporter as a "hellscape" surrounded by knee-deep ash. Even more firefighters are killed in the fall of the North Tower and the Marriott than in the South Tower collapse; many of the surviving firefighters on the scene are dazed, and some are weeping. A firefighter who arrived about this time remembered "There were body parts everywhere. You couldn't tell the body parts from the metal."  A doctor says "The entire block is incinerated. It doesn't look like anything you would be able to pull anybody out of."  The New York Times reported "The area around the World Trade Center resembled a desert after a terrible sandstorm. Parts of buildings, crushed vehicles and the shoes, purses, umbrellas and baby carriages of those who fled lay covered with thick, gray ash, through which weeping people wandered in search of safety, each with a story of pure horror." A damaged theater near the North Tower is advertising the movie 'Ghost World.'       [911cm / dwyer / nyt.Sep.12+Sep.16.2001 / wap.Sep.12+Sep.14.2001]

A stoplight near Ground Zero

 

9/11 Intro          Source Abbreviations


1948-1978      1979-1986      1987-1992      1993-1995      1996-1998      1999-2000

2001, Jan-Jun
     2001, Jul-Sep.10

September 11, 2001, Part II