The September 11 (9/11) attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. The attacks took place on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Four commercial jet airliners were hijacked by hijackers and flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Collectively, nearly 3,000 people died as a result of the attacks, and over 20,000 others were injured. These events constituted the worst acts of terror in human history.
Below, we will share some critical facts about the September 11 attacks (9/11).
1. The World Trade Center towers that were attacked on September 11 were 1,368 feet (North Tower) tall and 1,362 feet (South Tower) above the surface of the Hudson River.
2. The four hijacked airliners flew at an altitude of between 15,000 and 41,000 feet before crashing into the World Trade Center or Pentagon. The maximum cruising altitude for Boeing jets is about 42,000 feet.
3. Some hijackers were: Alomari, Khalid al-Mihdhar, Hamza Alghamdi, al-Shehhi and Mohammad Atta.
4. The total hijacking time was almost 2 hours.
5. In an act of bravery, passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 refused to give up control of the plane and tried to take it back from the hijackers. Thanks to their courage, the aircraft did not reach its target, the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Instead, the plane crashed near a reclaimed strip mine in Stonycreek Township, close to Shanksville. All 44 people on board, including the hijackers, died. Before the plane crashed, Vice President Dick Cheney called for Flight 93 to be shot down before it reached Washington, D.C.
6. All four planes had transponders turned off around when their respective hijacks began, making them invisible to air traffic controllers. The hijackers turned off the transponders to hide from ground radar.
7. The planes involved in the attacks were Boeing 757-222, Boeing 757-223, Boeing 767-223ER, and Boeing 767-222. The 757 can carry 200 to 295 passengers, and the 767 up to 245 passengers.
8. Although 19 hijackers carried out the 9/11 attacks, the 20th hijacker did not participate for unknown reasons.
9. The four planes involved in the attacks flew at about 350 knots, nearly 400 miles per hour, when they struck their respective targets.
10. American Airlines Flight 77 departed Dulles International Airport, Washington D.C., at 8:20 am EDT.
11. United Airlines Flight 175 departed Logan International Airport at 8:14 am EDT.
12. United Airlines Flight 93 was piloted by Jason Dahl and had two flight attendants, Sandra Bradshaw and Wanda Green, on board. Bradshaw called her mother in Florida immediately before the plane crashed into a field at 10:03 EDT near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
13. It was also the first time in the history of the United States to have all planes grounded.
14. Flight attendant Betty Ong was onboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it was hijacked at 8:14 am EDT. She got through to an American Airlines reservation with her cell phone. She was 45 years old at the time of her death.
15. It took Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden about three years of planning.
16. Upon realizing that the planes had struck the Pentagon, U.S. President George W. Bush immediately left a classroom in which he was giving a talk to a group of young students.
17. Over 1000 people were arrested in connection to the attacks.
18. On December 13, 2001, the United States government released a tape of Osama Bin Laden taking full responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.
19. Because of the 9/11 attacks, September 11 is known as “Patriot Day“.
20. An official U.S. military response came on October 7, 2001, when the military bombed several Taliban targets in Afghanistan. The official war on terror would last 20 years, from 2001 – 2021.
21. Today, ground zero is the sight of the former World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.