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The September 11 attacks, in addition to being a unique act of aggression, constituted a media event on a scale not seen since the advent of civilian global satellite links, round-the-clock television news organizations and the instant worldwide reaction and debate made possible by the Internet. As a result, most of the events listed below were known by a large portion of the planet's population as they occurred.

All times are in New York Time (EDT Wikipedia.png or UTC Wikipedia.png - 4).


6:02 – 6:52 am[]

6:02: Mohamed Atta travels Colgan Air from Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine to Logan International Airport, Boston, along with Abdulaziz al-Omari.

6:45: Atta and al-Omari arrive at Boston's Logan Airport.

6:52: Marwan al-Shehhi, the hijacker of United Airlines Flight 175, calls Atta from another terminal at Logan to confirm that the plans for the attack are intact.

7:35 – 7:59 am[]

7:35: Atta and al-Omari board American Airlines Flight 11.

7:40: The rest of the American Airlines Flight 11 hijackers board the plane.

7:59: American Airlines Flight 11,  departs 14 minutes late from Logan International Airport, bound for Los Angeles, California. Five hijackers are aboard.

8:13 – 8:58 am[]

8:13: Flight 11 has its last routine communication with Boston Center

8:14: Flight 11 fails to heed air traffic controller's instruction to climb to 35,000 feet.

8:14: United Airlines Flight 175, another fully-fueled Boeing 767, carrying 56 passengers and nine crew members, departs from Boston Logan airport, also bound for Los Angeles. Five hijackers are aboard.

8:19: Betty Ong, a flight attendant on Flight 11 [1] alerts American Airlines via an airphone, “The cockpit is not answering, somebody’s stabbed in business class—and I think there’s Mace—that we can’t breathe—I don’t know, I think we’re getting hijacked.” She then tells of the stabbings of two flight attendants.

8:20: The Federal Aviation Administration's Boston Center flight controllers decide that Flight 11 has probably been hijacked.

8:20: American Airlines Flight 77, a 757 with 58 passengers and six crew members, departs from Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles. Five hijackers are aboard.

8:21 Flight 11's transponder signal is turned off, but the plane remains on radar screens as a blip without additional information. (Prior to the 9/11 Commission's report, news organizations reported this time as 8:13 or immediately thereafter.)

8:24 Flight 11 makes a 100-degree turn to the south heading toward New York City. A radio transmission comes from Flight 11: "We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you'll be okay. We are returning to the airport." It is believed Atta mistakenly held a button directing his voice to radio rather than to the plane's cabin as he intended. A few seconds later, Atta's voice says, "nobody move. Everything will be OK. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet." Air traffic controllers hear the transmission.

8:25: Boston Center flight controllers alert other flight control centers regarding Flight 11. However, NORAD is not yet alerted.

8:34: A third transmission from Flight 11: "nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don't try to make any stupid moves."

8:34: Dan Bueno from Boston Center notifies the tower controller at Otis Air National Guard Base Wikipedia.png at Cape Cod of the hijacking of Flight 11. The controller directs Bueno to contact NEADS (Northeast Air Defense Sector), the northeast sector of NORAD.[1] The controller then notifies Otis Operations Center that a call from NEADS might be coming.[2] Two F15 pilots begin to suit up.[3]

8:37: Flight 175 confirms sighting of hijacked Flight 11 to flight controllers, 10 miles (16 km) to its south.

8:37:52: Boston Center control notifies NEADS of the hijacking of Flight 11, the first notification received by NORAD that American 11 had been hijacked. The controller requests military help to intercept the jetliner.

File:Manhattan from above Hudson River.jpg

Cockpit view of the World Trade Center towers from the Hudson River – the flightpath of American Flight 11

8:41: The FAA's New York Center requests information about Flight 11 over the radio. Flight 175 responds: "[...]ah we heard a suspicious transmission on our departure out of Boston ah with someone ah, ah sound like someone sound like someone keyed the mike and said ah 'everyone ah stay in your seats'"[2] New York Center acknowledges and says it will pass the information on.

8:42: United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757, takes off with 37 passengers and seven crew members from Newark International Airport (now Newark Liberty International Airport), bound for San Francisco International Airport, following a 40-minute delay due to congested runways. Four hijackers are aboard. Its flight path initially takes it close to the World Trade Center before moving away westwards.

8:42 to 8:46 (approx.): Flight 175 is hijacked.

8:44: Flight attendant Amy Sweeney, aboard Flight 11, reports by telephone to Michael Woodward at the American Airlines Flight Services Office in Boston, "Something is wrong. We are in a rapid descent... we are all over the place." A minute later, Woodward asks her to describe what she sees out the window. She responds, "I see the water. I see the buildings. I see buildings..." After a short pause, she reports, "We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low." Seconds later she says, "Oh my God, we are way too low.” The call ends with a burst of very loud, sustained static.

8:46: Two F-15 fighter jets are ordered to scramble from Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, intended to intercept Flight 11. Because Flight 11's transponder is off, the pilots do not know the location of their target. NEADS spends the next several minutes watching their radar screens in anticipation of Flight 11 returning a radar contact.

File:Seconds after first plane.JPG

Seconds after American 11 impacted North Tower

8:46:40: Flight 11 crashes at roughly 490 mph (790km/h or 219m/s or 425 knots) into the north face of the North Tower (1 WTC) of the World Trade Center, between floors 93 and 99. (Many early accounts gave times between 8:45 and 8:50). The aircraft enters the tower mostly intact. It plows to the building core, severing all three gypsum-encased stairwells, dragging combustibles with it. A massive shock wave travels down to the ground and up again. The combustibles and the remnants of the aircraft are ignited by the burning fuel. As the building lacks a traditional full cage frame and depends almost entirely on the strength of a narrow structural core running up the center, fire at the center of the impact zone is in a position to compromise the integrity of all internal columns. People below the severed stairwells start to evacuate—no one above the impact zone is able to do so.

French filmmaker Jules Naudet and Czech immigrant Pavel Hlava videotape the crash of Flight 11 with their video cameras from different locations. A WNYW TV camera records the sound, but not the image, of the crash.

8:46 to 10:28: At least 100 people (some accounts say as many as 250), primarily in the North Tower, trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jump to their deaths.[citation needed] One person at street level, firefighter Daniel Suhr, is hit by a jumper and dies.[4] No form of airborne evacuation is attempted as smoke is too dense for a successful landing on the roof of either tower, New York City lacks helicopters equipped for horizontal rescue and the roof tarmac would have been too hot to land a helicopter.[citation needed]

8:48:08: The first television report of an incident at the World Trade Center is broadcast locally in New York by WNYW less than two minutes after the plane crashed into the North Tower. WNYW breaks into a Paramount Pictures movie trailer for Zoolander with the first live TV pictures of black smoke coming from the North Tower, relayed by a WNYW cameraman at ground level. One of the station's camera crews already had been out on the street that morning for New York's mayoral primary election. As WNYW broadcasts the first live pictures of smoke, the voice of reporter Dick Oliver is heard from the scene: "Jim, just a few moments ago, something believed to be a plane crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center." WNYW reporting would eventually correct the location of the first plane crash from the South Tower to the North Tower. Oliver was referring to WNYW anchor Jim Ryan, who was not seen or heard on-air during the initial seconds of WNYW's first report of the disaster. Around the same time the first radio report of the incident is heard on WCBS-AM through traffic reporter Tom Kaminski, who was flying in the station's traffic helicopter and was set to deliver his 8:48 traffic report when the incident took place. The report is led into as normal with anchor Pat Carroll throwing to Kaminski in the chopper for the report, and Kaminski then relaying what he's seeing, "WCBS News time 8:48 it's traffic and weather together sponsored by Henry Miller's Theatre. Tom Kaminski Chopper 880, Alright uh, Pat we are just currently getting a look at the World Trade Center, We have something that has happened here at the World Trade Center, we noticed flame and an awful lot of smoke from one of the towers of the World Trade Center."

CNN breaking the news of a plane crash at the World Trade Center

8:49:34: The first network television and radio reports of an explosion or incident at the World Trade Center. CNN breaks into a Ditech commercial at 8:49. The CNN screen subtitle first reads "World Trade Center disaster." Carol Lin, the first TV network anchor to break the news of the attacks, says:

"This just in. You are looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That is the World Trade Center, and we 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 of Manhattan. That is once again, a picture of one of the towers of the World Trade Center."

Later, Sean Murtagh, CNN vice-president of finance, in an on-air phone call, says from his office in the CNN New York bureau that a large passenger commercial jet was seen to hit the World Trade Center. Murtagh is the first network employee on the air. The first email bulletins of breaking news from CNN and MSNBC report "fire at tower of World Trade Center". Both CNN and MSNBC's websites receive such heavy traffic that many servers collapse. BBC News' website is active and shows a picture of the North Tower on fire. Minutes later, email news bulletins revise the reports of fire to a plane crash.

8:50: NEADS is notified that a plane has struck the World Trade Center as they continue to locate the flight on radar.

8:50 to 8:54 (approx.): Hijacking begins on Flight 77.

8:51: A flight controller at the FAA's New York Center notices that Flight 175 had changed its transponder code twice four minutes earlier; he tries to contact the flight.

8:52: A flight attendant aboard Flight 175 calls a United Airlines office in San Francisco, reporting that the flight had been hijacked, both pilots had been killed, a flight attendant had been stabbed, and the hijackers were probably flying the plane.

8:52: The F-15s at Otis Air National Guard Base are airborne. Still lacking an intercept vector to Flight 11 (and not aware that it has already crashed), they are sent to military controlled airspace off Long Island and ordered to remain in a holding pattern until between 9:09 and 9:13.

8:54: Flight 77 deviates from its assigned course, turning south over Ohio.

8:55 (approx.): Announcements are made over the building-wide PA system by officials in the still-undamaged South Tower of the World Trade Center, reporting that the building is "secure" and that people should return to their offices. Some do not hear it; others ignore it and evacuate anyway; others congregate in common areas like the 78th floor sky lobby.

8:55: President George W. Bush is at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida as part of a scheduled visit to promote education when presidential advisor Karl Rove, who is with Bush, informs him that a small twin-engine plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. Before entering the classroom, the President speaks to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who is at the White House. She first tells him it was a twin-engine aircraft—and then a commercial aircraft—that had struck the World Trade Center, adding “that’s all we know right now, Mr. President.”[5]

8:56: The transponder on Flight 77 is turned off and even primary radar contact with the aircraft is lost. During radar blackout Flight 77 turns east, unnoticed by flight controllers. When primary radar information is restored at 9:05, controllers look futilely for Flight 77 west of its previous position.[6] Flight 77 travels undetected for 36 minutes on a course heading due east toward Washington, D.C.

8:58: Flight 175 takes a heading toward New York City.

9:00 – 9:59 am[]

pt 1[]


9:00: Lee Hanson in Miami receives a second call from his son Peter, aboard Flight 175: "It's getting bad, Dad. A stewardess was stabbed. They seem to have knives and Mace Wikipedia.png. They said they have a bomb. It's getting very bad on the plane. Passengers are throwing up and getting sick. The plane is making jerky movements. I don't think the pilot is flying the plane. I think we are going down. I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building. Don't worry, Dad. If it happens, it'll be very fast. My God, my God." The call ends abruptly, as Lee Hanson hears a woman scream.

9:01 to 9:02: A manager from the FAA's New York Center tells the Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Virginia, "We have several situations going on here. It's escalating big, big time. We need to get the military involved with us. . . We're, we're involved with something else, we have other aircraft that may have a similar situation going on here."

9:01: FAA's New York Center contacts New York terminal approach control and asks for help in locating Flight 175.

9:02: Evacuation is ordered by FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer (North Tower). An announcement is made over the PA system to evacuate the buildings.
9:03:04: Flight 175 crashes at about 590 mph (950 km/h) into the south face of the South Tower (2 WTC) of the World Trade Center, banked between floors 77 and 85.[7] By this time, several media organizations are covering the first plane crash—millions see the impact live. Parts of the plane leave the building from its east and north sides, falling to the ground six blocks away. Some mistakenly believe that a second explosion has occurred in the North Tower due to the North Tower's obstruction of the South Tower from certain camera angles. They are unaware that a second plane has struck the South Tower. A massive evacuation begins in the South Tower below its impact zone. One of the stairwells in the South Tower remains unblocked from the top to the bottom of the tower, but is filled with smoke. This leads many people to mistakenly go upwards towards the roof for a rooftop rescue that never comes. The Port Authority kept the two sets of heavy metal doors leading to the building's only roof exit tightly locked.[8] The impact severs communication with several television and radio broadcast towers at the WTC; local station WPIX's feed freezes on an image of the second impact which is all the station broadcasts until alternate transmitters are set up hours later. CNN's headline now reads "Second plane crashes into World Trade Center." The three major broadcast networks have interrupted their morning shows and are speculating on whether they are witnessing a terrorist attack or some sort of very rare accident.

Several eyewitness accounts and camera footage reveal that the plane was coming in at an angle, and was seen to turn drastically to the left to be able to hit the tower, unlike its predecessor, Flight 11, which had been able to hit the North Tower straight on. Thus, it is believed that had the plane continued flying straight, it would have at least simply clipped the side of the building with its left wing, or even missed the building entirely.

Although there was a live camera feed that showed the second plane fly into the second tower, WABC anchors initially assumed that the explosion seen was caused when the fuselage of the first plane exploded. Other sources and eyewitnesses later advised them that it was actually a plane that had hit the South Tower. WABC suggested that the two crashes were caused by navigational system failure.

George W. Bush being told about the second plane hitting the WTC

9:03: President Bush enters a classroom as part of his school visit.

9:03: FAA's New York Center notifies NORAD (NEADS) of the hijacking of Flight 175.

9:04 (approximately): The FAA's Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center stops all departures from airports in its jurisdiction (New England Wikipedia.png and eastern New York State).

9:05: After brief introductions to the Booker elementary students, President Bush is about to begin reading The Pet Goat with the students when Chief of Staff Andrew Card Wikipedia.png interrupts to whisper to the president, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."[9] The president stated later that he decided to continue the lesson rather than alarm the students.

9:06: The FAA bans takeoffs of all flights bound to or through the airspace of New York Center from airports in that Center and the three adjacent Centers — Boston Center, Cleveland, and Washington Center. This is referred to as a First Tier groundstop and covers the Northeast from North Carolina Wikipedia.png north and as far west as eastern Michigan Wikipedia.png.

9:08: The FAA bans all takeoffs nationwide for flights going to or through New York Center airspace. ABC News Wikipedia.png reports later that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Wikipedia.png, the agency that runs the New York-area airports, asked the FAA for permission to close down the New York Center airspace.

9:13: The F-15 fighters from Otis Air National Guard Base Wikipedia.png leave military airspace near Long Island, bound for Manhattan.

9:14: President Bush returned to a holding room commandeered by the Secret Service shortly before 9:15. The holding room contains a telephone, a television showing the news coverage, and several senior staff members. The president speaks to Vice President Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, New York Governor George Pataki Wikipedia.png, and FBI Director Robert Mueller, and prepares brief remarks [3].

9:15: NBC's Today program reports unconfirmed statements from employees at United Airlines that an American Airlines aircraft had been hijacked previous to its destruction.

9:17: The FAA closes down all New York City-area airports.[10] The city had initially asked the FAA to close down the airports.

9:17:02: CBS News correspondent Jim Stewart in Washington mentions Osama bin Laden as a probable suspect in the intelligence community.

9:18: CNN makes reference to foul play for the first time, stating the FBI Wikipedia.png was investigating a report of plane hijacking. CNN headline: "AP: Plane was hijacked before crashes".

9:21: All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan closed.[11]

9:23: Flight 93 receives warning message text from United Airlines flight dispatcher: "Beware any cockpit intrusion- Two a/c [aircraft] hit World Trade Center."

9:24: The FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about the suspected hijacking of Flight 77. The FAA and NORAD establish an open line to discuss Flight 77, and shortly thereafter Flight 93.

9:25: The Otis-based F-15s establish an air patrol over Manhattan.

pt 2[]

9:25: A video teleconference begins to be set up in the White House Situation Room, led by Richard A. Clarke, a special assistant to the president, that eventually includes the CIA, the FBI Wikipedia.png, the departments of State Wikipedia.png, Justice, and Defense Wikipedia.png, and the FAA.

9:25: The Associated Press Wikipedia.png informs CNN that the two plane crashes in the World Trade Center appeared to be an act of terrorism (terrorist attack).

9:26: The FAA bans takeoffs of all civilian aircraft regardless of destination—a national groundstop. All military bases in the United States are ordered to increase threat conditions to Delta status.[citation needed]

9:28: Hijackers storm the cockpit on Flight 93 and take over the flight. The entry of the hijackers is overheard by flight controllers at Cleveland Center.

9:29: President Bush makes his first public statements about the attacks, in front of an audience of about 200 teachers and students at the elementary school. He states that he will be going back to Washington, that "we've had a national tragedy", and leads a moment of silence. No one in the President's traveling party has any information during this time that other aircraft were hijacked or missing.[12]

9:32: A radio transmission from Flight 93 is overheard by flight controllers at Cleveland: "Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board."

9:32: Controllers at the Dulles Terminal Radar Approach Control in Virginia observe "a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed", referring to Flight 77.

9:33 to 9:34: Tower supervisor at Reagan National Airport tells Secret Service operations center at the White House that "an aircraft [is] coming at you and not talking with us," referring to Flight 77. The White House is about to be evacuated when the tower reports that Flight 77 has turned and is approaching Reagan International Airport.

9:34: The FAA's Command Center relays information concerning Flight 93 to FAA headquarters.

9:35: The President's motorcade departs from the elementary school, bound for Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Air Force One.

9:35: Flight 93 reverses direction over Ohio and starts flying eastwards.

9:35: Based on a report that Flight 77 had turned again and was circling back toward the District of Columbia, the Secret Service orders the immediate evacuation of the Vice President from the White House.

9:36: Cleveland advises the FAA Command Center that it is still tracking Flight 93 and inquires whether someone had requested the military to launch fighter aircraft to intercept the aircraft.

9:37: Vice President Cheney enters an underground tunnel leading to a security bunker.

File:Pentagon taxi hit by lightpole.jpg

A Lincoln Town Car taxicab was hit by a lightpole as American Airlines Flight 77 passed over Washington Boulevard and crashed into the Pentagon.[13]

9:37:46: Flight 77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon and starts a violent fire. The section of the Pentagon hit consists mainly of newly renovated, unoccupied offices. All 64 people on board are killed, as are 125 Pentagon personnel.

9:39: Another radio transmission is heard from Ziad Jarrah aboard Flight 93: "Uh, this is the captain. Would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands [unintelligible]. Please remain quiet."

9:39: Fox News Channel reports, "We -- we are hearing -- right now that another explosion that -- has taken place. At the Pentagon."[14]

9:39: NBC and MSNBC report an explosion at the Pentagon.

9:40: Video teleconference in White House Situation Room begins with the physical security of the President, the White House, and federal agencies. They are not yet aware of the Pentagon crash.

9:40:49: CNN's Breaking News bulletin reads "Reports of fire at Pentagon."

9:43: The White House and the Capitol are evacuated and closed.

9:45: United States airspace is shut down. No civilian aircraft are allowed to take off, and all aircraft in flight are ordered to land at the nearest airport as soon as possible. All international flights headed for the U.S. are redirected to Canada. Transport Canada, Canada's transportation agency, also closes down its airspace. The FAA announces that civilian flights are suspended until at least noon September 12, while Transport Canada gives similar orders, but until further notice, to take in diverted U.S.-bound international flights, launching the agency's "Operation Yellow Ribbon". The groundings last until September 14. Military and medical flights as well as Con Air flights continue. This is the fourth time all commercial flights in the U.S. have been stopped, and the first time a suspension was unplanned. Many newspapers (including The New York Times) mistakenly print that this is the first time flights have been suspended. This was also the first time commercial flights in Canada have been stopped.

9:45: CNN receives initial reports that, in addition to a fire at the Pentagon, there is also a fire at the National Mall. These reports, however, are later proven to be false.

9:49: The FAA Command Center at Herndon suggests that someone at FAA headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance with Flight 93. Ultimately, the FAA makes no request before it crashes.

9:50 (approximately): The Associated Press Wikipedia.png reports that Flight 11 was apparently hijacked after departure from Boston's Logan Airport. Within an hour this is confirmed for both Flight 11 and Flight 175.

9:52: The National Security Agency Wikipedia.png intercepts a phone call between a known associate of Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and someone in the Republic of Georgia, announcing that he had heard "good news", and that another target was still to be hit.[15]

9:53: CNN confirms a plane crash at the Pentagon.

9:55: A CNN correspondent mentions Osama bin Laden as someone determined to strike the US.

9:55: Air Force One leaves Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

9:57: Passenger revolt begins on Flight 93.

9:57: President Bush leaves Sarasota, Florida, on Air Force One. The plane reaches cruising altitude and circles for approximately 40 minutes while the destination of the plane is discussed.

9:59:02: The South Tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse, 55 minutes 58 seconds after the impact of Flight 175. Its destruction is viewed and heard by a vast television and radio audience. As the roar of the collapse goes silent, tremendous gray-white clouds of pulverized concrete and gypsum rush through the streets. Most observers think a new explosion or impact has produced smoke and debris that now obscures the South Tower. ABC is the first to get word of the building's collapse as reporter Don Dahler tells Peter Jennings of the collapse, which he had witnessed from his apartment overlooking the site. When the wind finally clears the immediate space, it is plain to see that the tower is gone. Even so, CNN continued to believe, even long after the collapse, that some kind of third explosion had caused the collapse rather than structural failure.

10:00 – 10:53 am[]

10:00 : Moments after the South Tower fell, Chief J. Pfeifer (inside of North Tower) said on the radio the order to all firemen, at least twice, "Evacuate the building".

10:01: The FAA Command Center advises FAA headquarters that an aircraft had seen Flight 93 "waving his wings," the hijackers' efforts to defeat the passengers' counterattack.

10:02: Communicators with the Vice President in the security bunker begin receiving reports from the Secret Service of an inbound aircraft — presumably hijacked — heading toward Washington. This is Flight 93.

10:03:11: United Airlines Flight 93 is crashed by its hijackers and passengers, due to fighting in the cockpit 80 miles (129 km) southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. [16] Later reports indicate that passengers had learned about the World Trade Center and Pentagon crashes on cell phones and at least three were planning on resisting the hijackers; the resistance was confirmed by Flight 93's cockpit voice recording, on which the hijackers are heard making their decision to down the plane before the passengers succeed in breaching the cockpit door. The 9/11 Commission believed that Flight 93's target was either the United States Capitol building or the White House in Washington, D.C.[17]

10:03 (approximately): The National Military Command Center learns from the White House of Flight 93's hijacking.

10:05: Andrea Mitchell, reporting on NBC from outside the Pentagon, reports that Osama bin Laden may have been involved in the attacks.

10:05: CNN's headlines read: SOUTH TOWER AT WTC COLLAPSES.

10:07: NBC reports for the first time that the South Tower of the World Trade Center has collapsed. Prior to this time they have only said that a section of the building has fallen away.

10:07: NEADS, controlling the only set of fighters over Washington, first learns of the hijacking of Flight 93.

10:08: Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon reports to FAA headquarters that Flight 93 may be down near Johnstown, Pennsylvania; at 10:17 the Command Center concludes it is so.

10:10: Part of the west side of the Pentagon collapses.

10:10: NEADS emphatically tells fighter pilots over Washington, "Negative clearance to shoot."

10:10 to 10:15 (approximately): Vice President Cheney, unaware that Flight 93 has crashed, authorizes fighter aircraft to engage the inbound plane, reported to be 80 miles (129 km) from Washington, based not on radar (from which it has disappeared) but speed and trajectory projections.

10:13 to 10:22: The 9/11 Commission's estimated arrival of Flight 93 over Washington had it not crashed in Pennsylvania.[18]

10:14 to 10:19: A lieutenant colonel at the White House repeatedly relays to the NMCC that the Vice President has confirmed that fighters are cleared to engage inbound aircraft if they can verify that the aircraft was hijacked.

10:15 (approximately): The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is reported to take responsibility for the crashes, but this is denied by a senior officer of the group soon after.

10:20: President Bush, aboard Air Force One, tells Vice President Cheney that he has authorized a shootdown of aircraft if necessary.[19]

10:23: The Associated Press reports a car bomb has exploded outside the State Department in Washington, D.C. This and several other reports of terrorist acts in the capital are quickly found to be false.[20]

10:24: Two men who were being evacuated through the underground shopping mall below the South Tower when it collapsed on them are able to climb up through thirty feet of debris to safety.

10:28:25: The North Tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse. Due to the destruction of the gypsum-encased stairwells on the impact floors (most skyscraper stairwells are encased in reinforced concrete), no one who was above the impact zone in the North Tower escapes the collapse. The Marriott Hotel, located at the base of the two towers, is also destroyed. The second collapse is also viewed live on television and heard on radio. The North Tower collapses 1 hour 41 minutes 45 seconds after the impact of Flight 11.

Several long-distance videos of the collapse, such as CNN, were able to notice that, after the cloud of dust had partially cleared away, a portion of the building was still standing. It appeared to be the lower half of the northwest corner column of the North Tower, which, like a spire, grew larger and had more structure still standing near the bottom. The portion rose to a fairly good height considering the collapse around it, as it appeared to rise nearly forty storeys off the ground. This piece remained standing for a few seconds after the initial collapse before it also came down.

10:31: NORAD first communicates the Vice President's shootdown authority to its NEADS.

10:35: Air Force One, carrying the president, turns for Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana.

10:37: Associated Press reports that officials at the Somerset County airport confirm that a large plane has crashed in western Pennsylvania. CNN's Aaron Brown passes along reports that a 747 is "down" in Pennsylvania. He stresses these reports are unconfirmed. At 10:50, this report is updated: A 767 has "crashed this morning, north of the Somerset County Airport".

10:39: Another hijacked jumbo jet is claimed to be headed for Washington, D.C. F-15s are scrambled and patrol the airspace above Washington, D.C. while other fighter jets sweep the airspace above New York City. They have orders, first issued by Vice President Cheney and later confirmed by President Bush, to shoot down any potentially dangerous planes that do not comply with orders given to them via radio. Eventually, the aircraft is revealed to be a medevac helicopter on its way to the Pentagon.

10:41: NBC News confirms that a plane has "gone down" in Somerset County. The earlier unconfirmed statements about an incident at the State Department in Washington, D.C. are reported as false.

10:43: CNN reports that a mass evacuation of Washington, D.C. and New York has been started. A few minutes later, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani Wikipedia.png orders an evacuation of Lower Manhattan.

10:49: Fox News Channel is the first of the United States news networks to implement a news ticker at the bottom of its screen for supplementary information about the attacks. CNN adds one at 11:11, and MSNBC adds one at approximately 2:00 pm. All three cable networks have used a news ticker continuously in the years since (and many local TV stations have followed suit).

10:50:19: Five storeys of part of the Pentagon collapse due to the fire.

10:50:25: The five storeys of the Pentagon have collapsed.

10:53: New York's primary elections are canceled.

  1. Spencer, Lynn (2008). Touching history: the untold story of the drama that unfolded in the skies over America on 9/11. Simon and Schuster. p. 22. ISBN Wikipedia.png 1416559256, 9781416559252. 
  2. Spencer, Lynn (2008). Touching history: the untold story of the drama that unfolded in the skies over America on 9/11. Simon and Schuster. p. 27. ISBN Wikipedia.png 1416559256, 9781416559252. 
  3. Viser, Matt (September 11, 2005). "Two pilots revisit their 9/11". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  4. Dwyer, Jim (August 13, 2005). "Vast Archive Yields New View of 9/11". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  5. 9/11 Commission Report, p. 35.
  6. With its transponder off, it is possible, though more difficult, to track an aircraft by its primary radar returns. But unlike transponder data, primary radar returns do not show the aircraft’s identity and altitude.
  7. Time as given in the 9/11 Commission Report, July 2004, pp. 8, 32. However, Final Report of the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, published by the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology in September 2005, pp. 83-84, timed this event at 9:02:59 a.m., established from time stamps in four September 11 telecasts.
  8. Paltrow, Scott J., Kim, Queens Sook, Wall St. Journal, Could Helicopters Have Saved People From the Top of the Trade Center?, retrieved August 10, 2010
  9. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, "We Have Some Planes," 1.3 National Crisis Management, The President and the Vice President.
  10. Timeline: Sept. 11, 2001,
  11. Timeline: Sept. 11, 2001,
  12. 9/11 Commission Report, Sec. 1.3, National Crisis Management.
  13. Bamford, James (June 8, 2004). A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of U.S. Intelligence Agencies. [[Doubleday (publisher)|]]. ISBN Wikipedia.png 0385506724. 
  14. "Explosion at the Pentagon". Fox News Channel. September 11, 2001. 
  15. Andrew Cockburn, "Rumsfeld", New York Times, March 25, 2007.
  16. The exact time is subject to some dispute — a report on seismographic data readings by Won-Young Kim and Gerald R. Baum puts the time of impact at 10:06:05. The 9/11 Commission argued "the seismic data on which [Kim and Baum based their] estimate are far too weak in signal-to-noise ratio and far too speculative in terms of signal source to be used as a means of contradicting the impact time [of 10:03] established by the very accurate combination of FDR, CVR, ATC, radar, and impact site data sets (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Notes, 1 "We Have Some Planes", note #168). Flight data recorder recordings, radar analysis, satellite data (9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 30) and at least one telephone call indicate 10:03:11.
  17. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 45
  18. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 44, Page 45
  19. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 41
  20. A stunning 48 hours of news, Associated Press. ABC News: "Post-Attack Tremors", Sept. 16, 2002.


11:00 – 11:55 am[]

11:00: Transport Canada halts all aircraft departures until further notice, except for police, military, and humanitarian flights, as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon. The operation was well underway as international flights headed for the U.S. had already started to land at Canadian airports, beginning at CFB Goose Bay. Fourteen other airports follow, including Halifax, Lester B. Pearson in Toronto, Montréal-Dorval, and Vancouver.

11:05: The FAA confirms that several planes have been hijacked in addition to American Airlines Flight 11.

11:16: American Airlines confirms the loss of its two aircrafts.

11:26: United Airlines confirms the loss of Flight 93 and states that it is "deeply concerned" about Flight 175.[1]

11:53: United Airlines confirms the loss of its two aircrafts.

11:55: The border between the U.S. and Mexico is on highest alert, but is not closed.

12:01 – 12:41 pm[]

12:01 (approx.): Fourteen people, including twelve firefighters, who were in a section of a stairwell in the North Tower that held together during the collapse, climb the stairs to the top of the Ground Zero rubble field.

12:04: Los Angeles International Airport, the intended destination of Flights 11, 77 and 175, is shut down.

12:15: San Francisco International Airport, the intended destination of Flight 93, is shut down.

12:15 (approximately): The airspace over the 48 contiguous United States is clear of all commercial and private flights.

12:30 (approximately): Secretary of State Colin Powell boards a plane in Lima, Peru, for Washington, D.C.

12:39: On CNN, Senator John McCain characterizes attack as an "act of war."

12:41: Senator Orrin Hatch tells CNN, "Both the FBI and our intelligence community believe that this is Bin Laden's signature."

1:00 – 1:27 pm[]

1:00 (approximately): At the Pentagon, fire crews are still fighting fires. The early response to the attack had been coordinated from the National Military Command Center, but that had to be evacuated when it began to fill with smoke.

1:04: President Bush puts the U.S. military on high alert worldwide (known as Force Protection Condition Delta). Taped remarks from the President were aired from Barksdale Air Force Base, stating that "freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward and freedom will be defended." He also said that the "United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts." He then leaves for a U.S. Strategic Command bunker located at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska. Later in the day several commentators and journalists, most notably ABC's Peter Jennings Wikipedia.png, express frustration with Bush's seemingly random movements. After the arrival in Nebraska, Jennings asks Ann Compton, the ABC correspondent on the scene, exactly where the President is. She answers, "He has disappeared down the rabbit hole, Peter."[2]

1:27: Mayor Anthony A. Williams of Washington, D.C., declares a state of emergency; the District of Columbia National Guard arrives on site.

2:39 – 2:50 pm[]

2:39: At a press conference New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is asked to estimate the number of casualties at the World Trade Center. He replies, "More than any of us can bear."

2:50: President Bush arrives at Offutt Air Force Base, Bellevue, Nebraska to convene a National Security Council teleconference via the U.S. Stratcom bunker.

3:00 pm[]

3:00 (approx.): Pasquale Buzzelli, who lost consciousness in a North Tower stairway during the collapse, awakens to find himself lying atop the debris with only a fractured foot.

4:00 – 4:36 pm[]

4:00: National news outlets report that high officials in the federal intelligence community are stating that Osama bin Laden is suspect number one.

4:25: The New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and the American Stock Exchange report that they will remain closed Wednesday September 12.

4:36: President Bush departs Offutt Air Force Base on Air Force One to return to Washington, D.C.

5:20 pm[]

5:20: The penthouse on top of 7 World Trade Center crumbles apart, only about 6 seconds before the entire building would begin to collapse.

5:20:33: 7 World Trade Center, also known as the Salomon Bros. Building, a 47-story building that had sustained damage from falling debris and widespread fires, collapses. The building contained New York's emergency operations center, operated by the NYC Office of Emergency Management, originally intended to respond to disasters such as the September 11 terrorist attacks. Due to the emergency personnel having more than enough time to evacuate the building since the collapse of the North Tower, there is not a single injury or death as a result of the collapse.

6:00 – 6:54 pm[]

6:00: Explosions and tracer fire are reported in Kabul Wikipedia.png, Afghanistan, by CNN and the BBC. The Northern Alliance Wikipedia.png, involved in a civil war with the Taliban government, is later reported to have attacked Kabul's airport with helicopter gunships.

6:00: Members of Congress join on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and sing "God Bless America".

6:00: Iraq announces the attacks are the fruit of "U.S. crimes against humanity" in an official announcement on state television.

6:00: The last of the aircraft headed for the U.S. to land at a Canadian airport lands at Vancouver International.

6:54: President Bush arrives at the White House.

7:00 – 7:30 pm[]

7:00: Efforts to locate survivors in the rubble that had been the twin towers continue. Fleets of ambulances are lined up to transport the injured to nearby hospitals, but they stand empty. 'Ground Zero' is the exclusive domain of New York City Fire Department Wikipedia.png and Police Department Wikipedia.png, despite volunteer steel and construction workers who stand ready to move large quantities of debris quickly. Relatives and friends of victims or likely victims, many displaying enlarged photographs of the missing printed on home computer printers, have appeared around New York. The New York Armory at Lexington Avenue and 26th Street and Union Square Park at 14th Street and Broadway become centers of vigil.

8:00 – 8:30 pm[]

8:00 (approx.): Port Authority Police Officer Will Jimeno, who was in an underground corridor between the two towers, is found alive in the rubble, and eventually freed at approximately 11:00 p.m.

8:30: President Bush addresses the nation from the White House.[3] Among his statements: "Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts," "Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve," and "The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts...we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."

As Bush speaks, members of Congress tell CNN that during private briefings with senior administration officials, they were told that the administration had enough evidence that it was "confident" the attacks are the work of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network.

10:00 pm[]

10:00: There are reports (later proven incorrect) of many survivors buried in rubble in New York making cell phone calls. Only two more survivors will be pulled from the rubble on September 12 and neither of them had made cell phone calls.

11:00 – 11:30 pm[]

11:00: After 3 hours, the F.B.I. finally digs out Will Jimeno. They also learn that port authority police sergeant John McLoughlin is trapped too. The F.B.I. dig him out at 8:00 am the next morning after he has been there for almost a day.

11:30: Before sleeping, President Bush enters into his journal: "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today...We think it's Osama bin Laden."[4]


  1. CNN, September 11: Chronology of terror.
  2. "ABC News Special Report: America Under Attack". Associated Retired Aviation Professionals. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  3. Statement by the President in His Address to the Nation, Sept. 11, 2001.
  4. Balz, Dan; Woodward, Bob (January 2002). "America's Chaotic Road to War:Bush's Global Strategy Began to Take Shape in First Frantic Hours After Attack". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 

Further reading[]

  • Bernstein, Richard B. (2003). Out of the Blue: A Narrative of September 11, 2001. Times Books. ISBN Wikipedia.png 0-8050-7410-4. 
  • Thompson, Paul (2004). The Terror Timeline: Year by Year, Day by Day, Minute by Minute: A Comprehensive Chronicle of the Road to 9/11. HarperCollins. ISBN Wikipedia.png 0-06-078338-9. 

External links[]