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Betty Ong was one of the victims on Flight 11.

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[1] [2] [3]

Betty Ong
Born 5 February 1956(1956-02-05)
San Francisco, California
Died 11 September 2001 (aged 45)
New York City, New York

Betty Ann Ong (5 February 1956 – 11 September 2001), born in San Francisco Wikipedia was an American Flight attendant on board American Airlines Flight 11 when it was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center as part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.[1]


Ong was born to Harry Ong Senior and Yee-gum Ong on February 5, 1956. She grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown Wikipedia and graduated from George Washington High School Wikipedia. Her family owned a grocery store on Jackson Street. Ong was the youngest of her surviving siblings: sisters, Cathie Ong Herrera, Gloria Ong Woo and brother Harry Ong.

Betty Ong Phone CallEdit

(Conversation between Betty Ong, another flight attendant aboard American 11, American Airlines Operations/Raleigh Reservations, Nydia Gonzalez (Operations Specialist On Duty Sept. 11), and American Airlines Emergency Line)

Betty Ong: "Um, we're sitting in the back, um, and the cockpit is not answering. Somebody is stabbed in business class-and um, I think there's mace-that we cant breathe-I don't know I think we're getting hijacked.

A.A. Oper. Center: "Which flight are you on?

Betty Ong: Flight 12 (Betty makes a mistake, but corrects herself later)

A.A. Oper. Center: And what seat are you in?

(Brief Silence)

A.A. Oper. Center: Ma'am are you there?

Betty Ong: Yes.

A.A. Oper. Center: What, what, what seat are you in?

(Brief Silence)

A.A. Oper. Center: Ma'am, what seat are you in?

Betty Ong: Well, we just left Boston, we're up in the air. We're supposed to go to L.A., and the cockpit's not answering their phone.

A.A. Oper. Center: What seat are you sitting in? What's the number of your seat?

Betty Ong: Okay I'm in my jump-seat right now.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay.

Betty Ong: At 3R.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay, you're the flight attendant?

(Brief Silence)

A.A. Oper. Center: I'm sorry, did you say you're the flight attendant?

Betty Ong: Hello? You're gonna have to speak up I can't hear you.

A.A. Oper. Center: Sure, what is your name?

Betty Ong: Okay, my name is Betty Ong, I'm #3 on Flight 11.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay.

Betty Ong: And the cockpit is not answering their phone, and there's somebody stabbed in business class, and there's, we can't breathe in business class somebody's got mace or something.

A.A. Oper. Center: Can you describe the person that you said, somebody is what in business class?

Betty Ong: I'm, I'm sitting in the back somebody's coming back from business, can you hold on for one second they're coming back.

A.A. Oper. Center: Sure.

(Betty heard talking to another flight attendant aboard American 11)

Betty Ong: They want to know who stabbed who, do you know?

Flight Attendant: I don't know but Karen, and Barbara got stabbed. (Karen and Barbara are the two first/business class flight attendants who got stabbed)

Betty Ong: Okay.

(Betty returns to conversation with A.A. Operations Center)

Betty Ong: Our, our #1 is, got stabbed, uh, our purser is stabbed. Um, nobody knows who stabbed who, and we can't even get up to business class right now because nobody can breathe. Uh, our #1 is, is, is, stabbed right now. And, and our #5 is stabbed. Our first class passengers are, uh, first class galley flight attendant and our purser have been stabbed. And we can't get to the cockpit... the, the door won't open.

(Brief Silence)

Betty Ong: Hello?

A.A. Oper. Center: Yeah, I'm taking it down, all the information. We're also, um, you know of course recording, the , um, at this point in time.

Nydia Gonzalez: This is operations, what flight number are we talking about?

A.A. Oper. Center: Flight 12.

Nydia Gonzalez: Flight 12, okay.

Betty Ong: No we're on Flight 11 right now. This is Flight 11.

A.A. Oper. Center: It's Flight 11, I'm sorry Nydia.

Betty Ong: Boston to Los Angeles.

A.A. Oper. Center: Yes.

Betty Ong: Our #1 has been stabbed, and our #5 has been stabbed.

(Betty heard talking to another flight attendant aboard American 11)

Betty: Can anybody get up to the cockpit? Can anybody get up to the cockpit?

Flight Attendant: No, we cant.

(Betty returns to conversation with A.A. Operations Center and Nydia Gonzalez)

Betty Ong: Okay, we can't even get up too the cockpit, we don't know who's up there.

A.A. Oper. Canter: Well if they were shrewd they would keep the door closed and...

(Betty doesn't hear this last comment)

Betty Ong: I'm sorry?

A.A. Oper. Center: Would they not maintain a sterile cockpit?

Betty Ong: I think the guys are up there, they might have gone there or jammed there way up there, or, or something. Nobody can call the cockpit, we can't even get inside.

(Brief Silence)

Betty Ong: Is anybody still there?

A.A. Oper. Center: Yes, we're still here.

Betty Ong: Okay, I'm staying on the line as well.

A.A. Oper. Center: Okay.

Nydia Gonzalez: Hi who is this calling reservations? Is this one of the flight attendants? Who are you hun?

A.A. Oper. Center: She gave her name as Betty Ong.

Nydia Gonzalez: Betty?

Betty Ong: Yeah, I'm #3. I'm #3 on this flight, and we're first...

Nydia Gonzalez: You're the #3 on this flight?

Betty Ong: Yes, and I have...

Nydia Gonzalez: And this is Flight 11? From where to where?

Betty Ong: Flight 11

Nydia Gonzalez: Have you guys called anyone else?

Betty Ong: No. Uh, somebody's calling medical, and we can't get a doctor.

(American Airlines Emergency Line (which will be identified as A.A. Em. Line) gets on the line and talks to Nydia)

A.A. Em. Line: American Airlines Emergency Line please state your emergency.

Nydia Gonzalez: Hey, this is Nydia at American Airlines calling. I am monitoring a call in which Flight 11. The flight attendant is advising our reps that the pilot, everyone has been stabbed.

A.A. Em. Line: Flight 11?

Nydia Gonzalez: Yeah, They can't get into the cockpit, that's what I'm hearing.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, who is this I'm talking to?

Nydia Gonzalez: Excuse me, this is Nydia at American Airlines Raleigh Reservations Center. I'm the operations specialist on duty.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, I'm sorry what is your name again?

Nydia Gonzalez: Nydia Gonzalez, G-O-N-Z-A-L-E-Z.

A.A. Em. Line: Raleigh Reservations. Okay, now when you..

Nydia Gonzalez: I've got the flight attendant on the line, with one of our agents.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, and she's calling how?

Nydia Gonzalez: Through reservations, I can go on the line and ask her questions.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, and I'm assuming they've declared an emergency. Let me get ATC on the line, stand by.

Nydia Gonzalez: Have you been contacted by the cockpit yet? No, okay. Okay, I'm still on with security Betty, okay? Okay. You, you're doing a great job Betty, just stay calm. We are, absolutely.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay, we're contacting the flight crew now, we're also contacting ATC.

Nydia Gonzalez: Okay, it seems like the passengers in coach might not be aware of what's going on right now.

A.A. Em. Line: These two passengers, were they from first class?

Nydia Gonzalez: Uh, okay. Hold on.

Nydia Gonzalez: Hey Betty, do you know any information as far as the gents, the men that are in the cockpit with the pilots, were they from first class?

Betty Ong: They were sitting in 2A and B.

Nydia Gonzalez: They were sitting in 2A and B

A.A. Em. Line: Okay.

Nydia Gonzalez: They are in the cockpit with the pilots.

A.A. Em. Line: Who's helping them is there a doctor on board?

Nydia Gonzalez: Is there a doctor on board that's assisting you guys? You don't have any doctors on board. Okay. So you've gotten all the first class passengers out of first class?

A.A. Em. Line: Have the flight attendants taken everyone out of first class?

Nydia Gonzalez: Yeah, she's just saying that they have. They're in coach. What's going on honey? Okay, the aircraft is erratic again. Flying very erratically. She did say all the first class passengers have been moved back to coach, so first class, the cabin is empty. What's going on on your end?

A.A. Em. Line: Uh, we contacted ATC, they are going to handle this as a confirmed hijacking. So they're moving all the traffic out of this aircraft's way.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay

A.A. Em. Line: Uh, he turned his transponder off, so we don't have a definitive altitude for him. We're just going by, they seem to think that they have him on a primary radar. They seem to think he is descending.

Nydia Gonzalez: Okay.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay Nydia?

Nydia Gonzalez: Yes dear I'm here.

A.A. Em. Line: I have a dispatcher currently taking the amount of fuel on board.

Nydia Gonzalez: Uh huh.

A.A. Em. Line: And we're gonna run some profiles, to see exactly what his endurance is.

Betty Ong: Pray for us! Pray for us! Please pray for us! Lord, pray for us! Not just for me, pray for us! Lord, please forgive us! Pray for us!

(Last communication with Ong) Nydia Gonzalez: Don't worry honey we will, we will. The Lord knows you're a good person, Betty. We will pray for you guys.

(Plane hits North Tower of World Trade Center)

Nydia Gonzalez: She doesn't have any idea who the stabbed passenger might be in first. Apparently they might have spread something so they're having a hard time breathing. What's going on Betty? Betty, talk to me. Betty, are you there? Betty? What, do you think we lost her? Okay so we'll like keep the line open. We--I think we might have lost her.

A.A. Em. Line: Okay |- | style="text-align: left;" | |} Betty started her career as a flight attendant in 1987. Her professionalism and hard work later earned her the position of a purser, a head flight attendant.

On September 11, Ong assigned herself to Flight 11, so she could return to Los Angeles and go on vacation to Hawaii with her sister. During the hijacking, Ong called in to American Airlines emergency, she identified herself and alerted the supervisor that the aircraft had been hijacked. Along with fellow flight attendant, Madeline Amy Sweeney, she relayed seat numbers of the hijackers. During her 23-minute call, she reported that none of the crew could open the cockpit door, two flight attendants and a passenger had been injured and one of the hijackers had sprayed mace Wikipedia in the first class cabin.[2][3]


On September 21, 2001, some 200 members of the Chinese American community in San Francisco, gathered in a small park to pay tribute to Ong. Mayor Willie Brown Wikipedia, who was present, gave a proclamation honoring the people who died in the tragedy and called September 21 "Betty Ong Day".[4]

Ong is also memorialized on "Gold Mountain", a mural dedicated to Chinese contributions to American history on Romolo Place in North Beach Wikipedia, a street where she used to skateboard and play as a child,[5] and a foundation named in her honor.

Betty Ong was played by Jean Yoon Wikipedia in the ABC Wikipedia miniseries The Path to 9/11.


  1. "Betty Ong: Unsung Hero of Sept. 11". National Public Radio. September 10, 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-06. "Betty Ong, a Chinese-American flight attendant for American Airlines, may have saved untold numbers of lives by telling emergency personnel on the ground what was happening aboard flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001. Her call led to air traffic controllers landing every plane flying over U.S. airspace. ..." 
  2. "Betty Ong's Call from 9/11 Flight 11". 9/11 Commission. Retrieved 2009-12-06. 
  3. "9/11 commission hears flight attendant's phone call". CNN. January 27, 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-06. "'The cockpit's not answering,' flight attendant Betty Ong said. 'Somebody's stabbed in business class, and, um, I think there's Mace that we can't breathe. I don't know; I think we are getting hijacked.' Ong, 45, was on board American Airlines Flight 11, the Boeing 767 en route from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, that was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center." 
  4. "In Recognition of the Heroism of Betty Ong". United States House of Representatives. September 22, 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-06. "Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Betty Ong, a native daughter of San Francisco's Chinatown and a hero for our Nation on September 11, 2001. ..." 
  5. Jim Herron Zamora (2007-09-12). "S.F. mural depicting 9/11 flight attendant scarred by taggers". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 

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