Logan International Airport

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spaceLogan airport is on the cutting edge of minimizing noise in communities near to airports. The airport installed a monitoring system and eliminated unrestricted runway activity between the hours of 11pm and 7am. The policy also restricts the type of aircraft allowed to use the airport runway to the quietest class of commercially available aircraft. Logan was also on the forefront of a federal movement severely restricting "phase 2" aircraft, which are older and very noisy. Logan was about 10 years head of the nation in that the "phase 2" restriction did not go into effect nationwide until 1999.

The Hijackers

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spaceUnited Airlines Flight 175 was scheduled to depart Logan International Airport in Boston at 8:00am EST to Los Angeles International Airport in California. On board were 51 passengers, 9 crewmembers and 5 hijackers.
spaceThe hijacking team was led by Marwan al-Shehhi, who trained for and received his pilot’s license in Florida. Fayez Banihammad, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Ghamdi and Mohand al-Shehri made up the rest of the hijacking unit. Just a few weeks before the attack, al-Shehri purchased two pocketknives from a Boynton Beach, Florida Sports Authority. Banihammad bought steak knives at Wal-Mart, while al-Ghamdi purchased a multi-tool.

spaceOn September 8th, both al-Ghamdis checked into the Days Hotel in Boston, while Banihammad and al-Shehri checked into the Milner hotel. Al-Shehhi checked into the Milner hotel on September 9th. On the day September 10th, Hazma al-Gamdhi or the man staying with him(believed to be Saeem al-Gamdhi) made a number of phone calls through International Interlink. At 3:00pm EST, a maid cleaned room 241 of the Days Inn room al-Gamdhi was staying in and noted that there was an usual amount of body hair on the floor, and that the men slept on top of the sheets and placed silk on top of their pillows. At 6:36pm EST, they ate at Charles River Bar and Grill. The morning of September 11th, the men paid their balance of $35.74 at 5:52am EST, then tipped the cab driver 15 cents at 6:54am EST.

spaceThe al-Ghamdis arrived at the United Airlines counter in Logan airport at 7:20am EST. Ahmed checked in two bags. Al-Shehhi checked in a bag at 7:45am EST while Banihammad and al-Shehri checked in two bags at 7:53am EST. Since none of them had been selected for additional screening by the CAPPS system(Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening Process), they boarded the plane. Banihammad sat in first class seat 2A, al-Shehri was in 2B. al-Shehhi was in business class seat 6C, Ahmed al-Ghamdi in 9D, while Hamza al-Ghamdi was in 9C. The flight took off from Gate 19 in Terminal C at 8:14am EST.

The Hijacking
spaceAt 8:37am EST, Boston Center asked the pilots of Flight 175 if they had seen Flight 11 to which they responded yes. At 8:41am EST, Flight 175 entered New York airspace and was assigned the same controller as Flight 11. At 8:47am EST, the transponder code of Flight 175 changed, but it was not noticed because Flight 11 crashed into the north tower at the same time. Therefore, it is estimated the hijacking of Flight 175 occurred approximately between 8:42-8:46am EST. Very soon after being hijacked, Flight 175 almost collided with Delta Airlines Flight 2315, but was saved due to the quick actions of air traffic controller Dave Bottiglia. He told the Delta flight to, “take any evasive action necessary.” At 8:48am EST, Boston and New England controllers began discussing(below left) the possibility that there were more planes that had been hijacked that morning. At 8:55am EST, a New York Air Traffic control supervisor notified the operations manager that Flight 175 had been hijacked. By about 9:00am EST, Flight 175 was headed directly for New York City.

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spaceFollow the flight path as Flight 175 leaves from Boston, bound for Los Angeles. Note how abruptly it changes from a southwestern direction to a southern, then sharply to a northeastern route, headed directly for New York City.

The Crash
spaceIn the ominous recording below left, New York controllers discuss the approach of Flight 175. They initially think it may be landing at a small airport, but eventually realize that is not the target. At 9:03am EST, Flight 175 crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center at approximately 545 miles per hour. It struck the building between the 77th and 85th floors. Like Flight 11, it had about 10,000 gallons of flammable jet fuel. The initial impact killed everyone on board as well as approximately 600 people inside the office building. According to witnesses of the crash, as it neared the towers, the plane veered to the left so it did not miss the tower. This maneuver would likely have given anyone sitting on the left-hand side of the plane a direct view of the impending crash.

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Since Flight 11 had already crashed into the north tower, people were aware and somewhat ready for the next attack. As a result, there are many pictures and videos of the last few horrific seconds of Flight 175.

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Stanley Praimnath was one of only four who were able to escape from
the 81st floor or above, and witnessed Flight 175 coming towards his
office window.

Praimnath shared this account with CNN in 2002:

space"I just happened to raise my head watching the Statue of Liberty and as I watched I saw this giant aircraft ... coming in slow motion towards me -- eye level, eye contact. And I just froze." I'm trembling and I'm crying, 'Lord, don't leave me here to die!' And I realize that I'm covered with debris when I try to get up," he said. "Peeking through the rubble, all I could see was the plane wing wedged at my office door, 20 feet from where I was."

spaceMany of those unlucky enough to be above the impact zone fled to the roof in hopes of a helicopter rescue. Unfortunately, because of the intense heat and thick jet-fuel smoke, that type of air rescue was impossible. Kevin Cosgrove, Vice President of Aon’s claims area, called 911 after the plane hit the south tower and pleaded with the operator to send help. His heart-wrenching last minutes alive were recorded by the 911 dispatcher.

President Bush at Emma Booker Elementary

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On the morning of September 11th, 2001, President Bush was reading to children at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. At 9:05 EST, Chief of Staff Andrew Card informs President Bush that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. It was at this moment that the president realized the nation was under attack.


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spaceThe collapse of the south tower was both similar and different than that of the north tower. It was similar in the sense that an inordinate amount of a dangerous dust and soot mixture was thrust into the area nearby causing thousands of people to choke for breath as they struggled to find clean air to breathe. The major difference, however, was time to prepare. Although everyone realized the situation was serious, few expected the 1,362 ft South Tower skyscraper to come crashing down in the matter of a few seconds. The result: people trapped in a dark dust cloud from which there was no easy escape. No one knows the long-term health effects that may afflict those caught in the collapse.

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Kevin Cosgrove Phone Call

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Kevin Cosgrove with his children: (left to right) Brian,aaaaasddadadadaCosgrove with his wife Wendy and baby Claire.
Claire and Elizabeth.


Discussion Questions
1. Provide information about the hijackers.
2. Explain what occurred during the hijacking.
3. What impact do you feel the images and video have on the memory of September 11th?
4. Describe President Bush's actions at Booker Elementary. Do you agree or disagree with the course of action he chose?
5. Describe the collapse of the towers. What is the long term impact of this event?
6. What do you think the air traffic controller meant when he said, “this is stuff you would only see in the movies?”
7. Do you feel phone calls that like that Kevin Cosgrove should be made public?