New York City
Tuesday, September 11, 2001
September 11, 2001 began as any normal fall weekday. The weather was beautiful with clear, sunny skies, as people throughout the country started their weekday routines. Little did we know, the country and the world would change as terrorist attacks would claim the lives of 2,977 innocent people.
World Trade Center
World Trade Center 1 and 2 were the two tallest buildings of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. The towers were each 110 stories, and together contained almost 10 million square feet of office space for 430 companies and 35,000 people.
The North Tower (1 WTC) was 1,368 feet tall with a 362-foot tall antenna. The South Tower (2 WTC) was 1,362 feet tall. Construction was completed in 1973 with the buildings holding the tallest buildings in the world title for a few months. The towers each weighed more than 250,000 tons, had 99 elevators, and 21,800 windows. The World Trade Center complex consisted of five additional buildings.
The World Trade Center complex was the site of a previous terrorist attack in February 1993. The attack involved a van full of explosives parked in the garage under the buildings. That attack claimed six lives and injured thousands more.
American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11 was a Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angles. Flight 11 took off at 7:59 a.m. with 11 crew members, 76 passengers, 5 hijackers and 76,400 lbs. of fuel.
At 8:19 a.m., Flight Attendant Betty Ong places a call to American ground personnel to report the hijacking.
At 8:21 a.m., hijackers turned off the aircraft transponder.
At 8:24 a.m., one of the hijackers broadcasts a message over the aviation radio instead of the aircraft intercom.
At 8:27 a.m., Flight 11 turns south towards New York City.
At 8:32 a.m., Flight Attendant Madeline Sweeney calls her friend, a manager at Boston Logan International Airport to report the hijacking.
At 8:37 a.m., Boston Air Traffic Control alerts the military that Flight 11 has been hijacked.
At 8:38 a.m., Flight 11 begins a rapid descent.
At 8:46:40 a.m., Flight 11 flies into the North Tower (1 WTC), striking between floors 93 and 99, killing all 92 people on board and numerous others in the building.
Chao Soi Cheong/AP
United Airlines Flight 175
United Airlines Flight 175 was a Boeing 767-200 also flying from Boston to Los Angeles. Flight 175 took off at 8:15 a.m. with 9 crew members, 51 passengers, 5 hijackers and 76,000 lbs. of fuel.
At 8:42 a.m., Flight 175 flight crew notifies air traffic control of the message heard over the radio by the Flight 11 hijackers.
At 8:47 a.m., air traffic controllers notice that Flight 175 changes beacon codes twice in rapid succession.
At 8:51 a.m., Flight 175 deviates from assigned altitude.
At 8:52 a.m., a Flight Attendant calls the United Airlines office in San Francisco to report the hijacking.
At 8:59 a.m., Flight 175 turns towards New York City.
By 9:00 a.m., passengers Garnet Bailey, Peter Hanson, and Brian Sweeney have all made phone calls to family members about the hijacking. Some of the passengers are told that a plane has hit the North Tower.
At 9:03:11 a.m., Flight 175 hits the South Tower (2 WTC) between the 77th and 85th floors, killing all 65 on board and numerous others in the building. The impact is broadcast live by many news agencies coving the fire in the North Tower.
World Trade Center Tower Collapse
After the impact of Flight 11 at 8:46:40 a.m., the North Tower, 1 World Trade Center, erupted into an inferno throughout the impact area. The massive fire started a historic response from public safety personnel in Manhattan and beyond. The response included the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). Thousands of people began to evacuate the North Tower, but many were trapped above the impact area due to destroyed stairwells and elevator shafts. FDNY units began to arrive shortly after the impact and began to climb the tower to evacuate as many people as possible and fight the massive fire.
At 8:55 a.m., the emergency was confined to the North Tower, and the South Tower was considered secure. Public address systems in the South Tower advised occupants that there was no need to evacuate.
At 8:59 a.m., the PAPD decided to evacuate both towers of the World Trade Center Complex. The evacuation notice is made in the South Tower at 9:02 a.m., one minute before United Flight 175 hits the tower.
Both towers continued to burn with an inferno spanning multiple floors for the next 56 minutes. Firefighters from across the city responded to this unprecedented incident. Fire commanders attempted to enact a rescue plan with hundreds of firefighters ascending both towers in an effort to evacuate people and reach the fire.
At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower suffers structural failure from the structural damage and uncontrolled fire. The tower completely collapses in 10 seconds. Many people in the North Tower are unaware of the collapse, while FDNY command and control operations are disrupted as a result of the collapse. Firefighters continue to climb the North Tower on their mission to evacuate people and reach the fire.
At 10:28 a.m., the North Tower also suffers a complete structural collapse.
At 11:02 a.m., NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani encourages everyone to evacuate lower Manhattan as rescue workers search the debris for survivors.
At 12:16 p.m., the United States airspace is officially closed as the last civilian aircraft lands. Over the previous two and half hours, almost 4,500 civilian aircraft have been instructed to land.
At 12:30 p.m., 14 survivors are rescued from the North Tower Stairwell B. This group consisted of 13 first responders and 1 civilian.
Port Authority Pasquale Buzzelle is rescued from the rubble of the North Tower at 3:00 p.m.
At 5:20 p.m., World Trade Center 7, a 47-story building which had been fully engulfed in fire for hours, collapses.
At 10:30 p.m., Port Authority Police Officer William Jimeno and Sergeant John McLoughlin are located alive in the debris. It takes rescuers three hours to remove Officer Jimeno and eight hours to remove Sergeant McLoughlin.
On the afternoon of September 12, Genelle Guzman is removed alive from the debris. She is the 14th and final survivor rescued from the collapse site.
Todd Maisel/New York Daily News
Thomas E Franklin/AP