September 11, 2001 attacks timeline for the day of the attacks

From Academic Kids

Sept. 11, 2001 attacks
Background history
September 11, 2001
Rest of September
Missing people
Foreign casualties
Rescue workers
Hijacked Airlines
American Airlines Flight 11
United Airlines Flight 175
American Airlines Flight 77
United Airlines Flight 93
Sites of destruction
World Trade Center
The Pentagon
Government response
World political effects
World economic effects
Airport security
Closings and cancellations
Audiovisual entertainment
Rescue and recovery effort
Financial assistance
Memorials and services
Slogans and terms
Misinformation and rumors
U.S. Congress Inquiry
9/11 Commission

The September 11, 2001_attacks, often referred to simply as "9/11" (spoken as "Nine Eleven"), in addition to being traumatic for those directly involved, caused extreme tension for the United States as a nation and many others around the world. In addition to being a tragedy, a unique act of aggression and perhaps a foreshadowing of the way the disaffected will lash out in the 21st century, it was 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. Due to these modern global communications links, most of the events listed below were known by a large portion of the planet's population almost in realtime.

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


Tuesday, September 11, 2001

<07:00 hours>

07:59: American Airlines Flight 11, a fully fueled Boeing 767 carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew, departs from Logan International Airport in Boston, bound for LAX in Los Angeles, California. Shortly before takeoff, Mohammed Atta made a short (less than one minute) phone call to Marwan al-Shehhi on Flight 175. Atta and Alomari, a fellow Flight 11 hijacker, had earlier taken a flight from Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine, to Logan International Airport.

<08:00 hours>

08:13: American Airlines Flight 11 is hijacked at approximately this time - the first plane taken over and the last radio communication was made. A recording believed to be that of Atta says, "Nobody move. Everything will be OK. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet." The flight path begins to stray away from the scheduled one and moves southwards. It is also reported that Flight 11's transponder signal is turned off at this time.[1] ([2] ([3] (

08:14: United Airlines Flight 175, another fully fueled Boeing 767 carrying 56 passengers and 9 crew members, departs from Boston Logan airport, also bound for Los Angeles, California.

08:19: A flight attendant on Flight 11 (Madeline Amy Sweeney) alerts American Airlines of a hijacking in progress.

08:20: Boston center flight controllers decide that Flight 11 has probably been hijacked. American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 with 58 passengers and 6 crew departs from Chantilly, Virginia's Washington Dulles International Airport for Los Angeles, California.

08:21 Flight 11's transponder signal is turned off but the plane remains on radar screens. (Prior to the 9/11 Commission's report, all news organizations reported this time as 8:13 or immediately thereafter.)

08:25: Boston center flight controllers alert other flight control centers regarding Flight 11; however, NORAD is not yet alerted.

08:37: Flight 175 sights and confirms the sighting of hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 to flight controllers, 10 miles (16 km) to its south.

08:37:52: The northeast sector of NORAD, NEADS (Northeast American Defense Sector) is notified of the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11 by FAA's Boston Centre control. The controller requests military help to intercept the aircraft.

08:42: United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 takes off with 37 passengers and 7 crew members from Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, bound for San Francisco, California's San Francisco International Airport, following a 40 minute delay due to congested runways. Its flight path initially takes it close to the World Trade Center before moving away westwards.

08:42: FAA's New York Center solicits 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, it sounded like someone keyed the mikes and said ah everyone stay in your seats." New York Center acknowledges and says it will pass the information along. Shortly after, Flight 175 is hijacked and also begins to move southwards.

08:46: F-15 fighter jets are scrambled from Otis Air Force Base in Massachusetts. Because flight 11's transponder is off, United States Air Force pilots do not know which direction to travel in to meet the plane. NEADS spends the next several minutes watching their radar scopes in anticipation of flight 11 returning a radar contact.

08:46:40: Flight 11 crashes with a speed of roughly 490 mph (790 km/h) into the north side of the north tower of the World Trade Center, between floors 94 and 98. (Many early accounts gave times that ranged between 08:45 and 08:50). The jetliner literally 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 as well as the remnants of the aircraft are ignited by the burning fuel. Since the building lacks a traditional full cage frame and depends almost entirely on the strength of a narrow structural core running up the center, the fire at the center of the impact zone is in a position to compromise the integrity of all internal columns. Only two home video cameras are known to have ever recorded the impact of Flight 11. People below the severed stairwells in the north tower start to evacuate; no one above the impact zone is able to.

08:46 to 10:29: At least twenty people, other estimates say at least fifty, primarily in the north tower and trapped by fire and smoke in the upper floors, jump to their deaths. There is some evidence that large central portions of the floor near the impact zone in the north tower collapsed soon after the plane hit, perhaps convincing some people that total collapse was imminent. One person at street level, firefighter Daniel Thomas Suhr, is hit by a jumper and dies. No form of airborne evacuation is attempted as smoke is too dense for a successful landing on the roof of either tower, and New York City lacks helicopters specialized for horizontal rescue.

08:49: The first news and radio organizations report an explosion or incident at the World Trade Center. CNN breaks into a commercial at 8:49. CNN headlines first read 'World Trade Center disaster.' Carol Lin, who was the first anchor to break the news of the attacks, said: "Yeah. This just in. You're 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 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."

08:50: NEADS is notified that a plane has struck the World Trade Center as they continue to locate the flight on radar.

08:53: The F-15s at Otis Air Force Base are airborne. Still lacking an intercept vector to Flight 11 (and not aware that it has already been 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.

08:55 (approx.): Announcements are made by officials in the still-undamaged South Tower of the World Trade Center that the building is 'secure', and that people may return to their offices, over the building-wide PA system. Some don't hear it; others ignore it and evacuate anyway; others congregate in common areas like the 78th floor sky lobby.

<09:00 hours>

George W. Bush's motorcade entering Emma E. Booker Elementary School
George W. Bush's motorcade entering Emma E. Booker Elementary School
09:03: President George W. Bush enters an Emma E. Booker Elementary School classroom in Sarasota, Florida, as part of a scheduled visit to promote education and the Bush administration education policies. Bush is aware that a commercial airline has struck one of the World Trade Center towers and elects to continue his schedule for the moment.

09:03: NORAD (NEADS) is notified by FAA's New York Center of the hijacking of Flight 175.

09:03:02: Flight 175 crashes with a speed of about 590 mph (950 km/h) into the south side of the south tower, banked between floors 78 and 84. By this time, several media organizations are covering the first plane crash; millions see the impact live. Parts of the plane leave the building at its east and north sides, falling to the ground six blocks away. A massive evacuation begins in the south tower below its impact zone. One of the stairwells in the south tower remains unblocked, but filled with smoke. This led many persons to mistakenly go upwards towards the roof for a rooftop rescue that would never come. CNN's headline now reads 'Second plane crashes into World Trade Center'.

09:04 (approximately): The FAA's Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center stops all departures from airports in its jurisdiction (New England and eastern New York State).

09:06: 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, Cleveland, and Washington. This is referred to as a First Tier groundstop and covers the Northeast from North Carolina north and as far west as eastern Michigan.

Missing image
George W. Bush being told about the second plane hitting the WTC
09:06: After brief introductions to the Booker elementary students, President Bush is about to begin reading with the students when Chief of Staff Andrew Card interrupts to whisper to the president, "A second plane hit the other tower, and America's under attack." The president elects to continue the lesson rather than alarm the students.

09:08: The FAA bans all takeoffs nationwide for flights going to or through New York Center airspace. ABC reports later that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the New York-area airports, asked the FAA for permission to close down the New York Center airspace.

09:13: The Otis Air Force based F-15 fighters leave military airspace near Long Island, bound for Manhattan.

09:16: President Bush leaves the classroom he has been in since 9:03, and is whisked to another, commandeered by the secret service. It contains a telephone, television showing the news coverage, and several senior staff members. Bush accumulates information and prepares brief remarks.

09:20: CNN's headline makes reference to foul play for the first time: 'AP: FBI investigating report of plane hijacking'. 9:22: 'AP: Plane was hijacked before crashed'.

09:24: The FAA notifies NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector about the suspected hijacking of American Airlines flight 77. The FAA and NORAD establish an open line to discuss Flight 77, and shortly thereafter, Flight 93.

09:25: The Otis Air Force based F-15s establish an air patrol over the city of Manhattan.

09:26: The FAA bans takeoffs of all civilian aircraft regardless of destination - a national groundstop.

09:28: Hijackers storm the cockpit on Flight 93 and take over the flight. The entry of the hijackers is overheard by flight controllers at Cleveland.

Missing image
George Bush giving his first public statements on the attacks.
09:29: 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. After the speech, he is bound for Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and Air Force One.

09:35 Flight 93 reverses direction and starts flying eastwards.

09:37:46: American Airlines 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 persons on board are killed, as are 125 Pentagon personnel.

09:39: CNN posts 'Report of fire at Pentagon', its first reference to the incident at the Pentagon.

09:45: United States airspace is shut down. No civilian aircraft are allowed to lift off, and all aircraft in flight are ordered to land at the nearest airport as soon as practical. All international flights headed for the U.S. are redirected to Canada. Transport Canada, the Canadian transportation agency, follows the American lead and closes down their 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, beginning the agency's "Operation Yellow Ribbon." The groundings last until September 14, but there are exemptions for certain Saudi families, who fear retribution if they stay in the United States. Military and medical 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. All previous suspensions were military-related (Sky Shield I-III), from 1960 to 1962. Many reporters in the press (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.

09:45: The White House and the Capitol are closed and evacuated.

09:50 (approximately): The Associated Press 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.

09:57: 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.

09:59:04: The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses, viewed and heard by a vast television and radio audience (see Collapse of the World Trade Center). It had stood for 56 minutes and 10 seconds since the impact by Flight 175. 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. When the wind finally clears the immediate space, it is plain to see that there is no tower.

<10:00 hours>

10:00: Transport Canada acts swiftly after learning that the FAA has closed down U.S. airspace and closes down all Canadian airspace, as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon. This is the first time this has ever happened.

10:03: Flight 93 is crashed by its hijackers southeast of Pittsburgh in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Other reports say 10:06 or 10:10. According to seismographic data readings ( the time of impact was 10:06:05, but black box recording and at least one telephone call argues in favor of 10:03. Later reports indicate that passengers speaking on cell phones had learned about the World Trade Center and Pentagon crashes 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..

Reports stated an eyewitness saw a white plane resembling a fighter jet circling the site minutes after the crash. These reports have limited credibility, although fighter jets had been scrambled to defend the Washington D.C. region earlier. These jets, however, stayed within the immediate D.C. area.

10:10: Part of the Pentagon collapses.

10:13: Thousands are involved in an evacuation of the United Nations complex in New York.

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.

10:28:31: The north tower of the World Trade Center collapses from the top down, as if being peeled apart. Probably due to the destruction of the gypsum-encased stairwells on the impact floors (most skyscraper stairwells are encased in reinforced concrete), no one above the impact zone in the north tower survives. 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.

10:35 (approximately): Police are reportedly alerted about a bomb in a car outside the State Department in Washington, D.C.. Later reports claim that nothing happened at the State Department.

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

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.

10:45: 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 orders an evacuation of lower Manhattan.

10:50: Five stories of part of The Pentagon collapse due to the fire.

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

<11:00 hours>

11:00: Transport Canada halts all aircraft departures until further notice, except for police, military, and humanitarian flights. International flights headed for the U.S. had already started to land at Canadian airports, beginning at CFB Goose Bay. Fourteen other airports would follow, including Halifax, Lester B. Pearson in Toronto, Dorval (now Pierre Trudeau International) in Montreal, and Vancouver.

11:15 (approximately): Reports that the F-15s over Washington had shot something down. There was no later confirmation of these reports.

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

11:17: United Airlines confirms the loss of Flight 93 and states that it is "deeply concerned" about Flight 175.

11:25: Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is closed.

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

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

<12:00 hours>

12:00 (approximately): President Bush arrives at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. Many assume he will be on his way back to Washington, D.C. after this layover. Bush makes a brief and informal initial statement to the effect that terrorism on U.S. soil will not be tolerated, said 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."

12:02: The Taliban government of Afghanistan denounces the attacks.

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.

<13:00 hours>

13:00 (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.

13:04: President Bush puts the U.S. military on high alert worldwide. He speaks from Barksdale Air Force Base and leaves for SAC bunker in Nebraska. Later in the day several commentators and journalists, most notably ABC's Peter Jennings, express frustration with Bush's seemingly random movements. After the arrival in Nebraska, Jennings asks the ABC correspondent on the scene exactly where the President is. She answers, "Peter, the President has gone down the rabbit hole".

13:27: Mayor Anthony A. Williams of Washington, D.C., declares a state of emergency; the D.C. National Guard arrives on site.

<14:00 hours>

14:30: Senator John McCain characterizes attack as an "act of war."

14:49: 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."

 <16:00 hours>

16:00: National news outlets report that high officials in the federal intelligence community are stating that Osama bin Laden is suspect number one.

16:25: The New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and the American Stock Exchange report that they will remain closed Wednesday September 12.

<17:00 hours>

17:20: Salomon Brothers 7, commonly referred to as "7 World Trade Center", a 47 story building which had sustained what was originally thought to be light damage in the fall of the twin towers and was earlier reported on fire, collapses. The building contained New York's special emergency center, which was intended for such an emergency as the September 11 terrorist attacks.

<18:00 hours>

18:00: Explosions and tracer fire are reported in Kabul, Afghanistan, by CNN and the BBC. The Northern Alliance, involved in a civil war with the Taliban government, is later reported to have attacked Kabul's airport with helicopter gunships.

18:00: Iraq announces the attacks are the fruit of "U.S. crimes against humanity" in an official announcement on state television.

18:54: President Bush arrives at the White House. Executive authority through much of the day had rested with Vice President Cheney.

<19:00 hours>

19:00: Efforts to locate survivors in the rubble that had been the Twin Towers continue. Fleets of ambulances have been lined up to transport the injured to nearby hospitals, but stand empty. 'Ground Zero' is the exclusive domain of New York City's Fire Department and Police Department, 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 become centers of vigil.

19:30: U.S. Government denies any responsibility for the reported explosions in Kabul.

<20:00 hours>

20:30: President Bush addresses the nation ( from the White House. Among his phrases: "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 told CNN that during private briefings with senior administration officials, they were told that the administration had enough evidence that it was "confident" that the attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network. [4] (

<21:00 hours>

21:00: President Bush meets with his full National Security Council, followed roughly half an hour later by a meeting with a smaller group of key advisers. Bush and his advisers have evidence that Osama bin Laden is behind the attacks. CIA Director Tenet says that al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan are essentially one and the same. Bush says, "Tell the Taliban we're finished with them."

<22:00 hours>

22:00: There are reports, later proved wrong, of survivors buried in the rubble in New York making cell phone calls.

22:21: Before going to sleep, Bush writes in his diary. "The Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today...We think it's Osama bin Laden."

Other days

Overview -- Background history -- Planning and execution -- September 11 -- Rest of September -- October

-- Aftermath

External links


pl:Przebieg zamachu na World Trade Center i Pentagon


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