9-11 recordings capture terror in the sky

Comprehensive release of recorded communications between military, civilian air traffic controllers made public for the first time.

September 9, 2011 08:21
1 minute read.
Recorded communications from September 11, 2001.

Sept 11 radio recodings 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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A team at Rutgers Law Review has provided a real-time look at how air traffic control responded to the hijackings as the world watched on television.

One of the first calls came regarding the hijacking of American Airlines flight 11.

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"I am monitoring a call in which flight 11, the flight attendant is advising our reps that the pilot, everyone's been stabbed," said Nidia Gonzalez to an emergency worker at American Airlines.

The recordings also document the terrifying screams of passengers aboard United Flight 93 minutes before the fatal crash into Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Cleveland's Air Traffic Controllers called out in disbelief about what they were hearing from the plane.

"Did you hear your company, ah, some interference on the frequency, ah, couple a minutes ago, screaming?"

A member of United Flight 1523 responded, "Yes I did...and, ah, we couldn't tell what it was either."

The recordings illustrate the high level of confusion and disbelief among air traffic control workers as the hijackings were taking place.

The 9/11 Commission staff has begun compiling the air traffic control recordings and transcripts but had not completed it in time to be released with the 9/11 Commission report.

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