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Saturday, September 18, 2021

20 years after 9/11: The three hours that changed the US forever

Scenes of chaos beamed on TV screens across the world as two of the hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, another struck the west side of the Pentagon building in Washington DC, while the fourth fell in a field in Pennsylvania. 

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 11, 2021 10:56:03 am
Nearly 3,000 people were killed and countless more injured in the terror attack, that forever transformed the United States, leaving it with deep, indelible scars, and prompted a drastic readjustment of its foreign and domestic policy. (File)

On the morning of September 11, 2001, almost exactly two decades ago, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four California-bound commercial airplanes with the intention of striking some of the US’ most iconic buildings. In the hours that followed, scenes of chaos and devastation beamed on television screens across the world as two of the hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, another struck the west side of the Pentagon building in Washington DC, while the fourth fell in a field in Pennsylvania. 

Nearly 3,000 people were killed and countless more injured in the terror attack, that forever transformed the United States, leaving it with deep, indelible scars, and prompted a drastic readjustment of its foreign and domestic policy. Most notably, the event set off the rapid deployment of US forces to Afghanistan, marking the beginning of the country’s longest war. 

Here is a timeline of how the 9/11 terror attacks unfolded 

7:59 am: Los Angeles-bound American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew members departs from Boston’s Logan International Airport. Five hijackers were also on board. 

8:14 am: United Airlines Flight 175, with 56 passengers and 9 crew members onboard, takes off from Logan International Airport. This plane too was headed to Los Angeles and was carrying five hijackers. 

8:19 am: Crew members onboard Flight 11 alert ground personnel that a hijacking was taking place. Just moments before this, a passenger named Daniel Lewin was stabbed by a hijacker, who was seated behind him. 

8:20 am: American Airlines Flight 77, headed towards Los Angeles International Airport, takes off from Washington Dulles International Airport. 

8:42 am: San Francisco-bound United Airlines Flight 93 takes off at Newark after a delay. Seven crew members, 33 passengers, and four hijackers were on board.

In this Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001 file photo, rescue workers continue their search as smoke rises from the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York. (AP Photo)

8:46 am: Flight 11 crashes into the north face of the World Trade Centre’s North Tower. All 92 people on board were killed 

8:50 am: President George W Bush is alerted of the crash. 

8:50-8:54 am: Flight 77 is hijacked over Southern Ohio 

9:03 am: Flight 175 crashes into the south face of the World Trade Centre’s South Tower. 

9:28 am: Flight 93 is hijacked somewhere over northern Ohio. 

9:37 am: Flight 77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon building, sparking a violent fire. 

9:45 am: The US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounds all flights. All aircraft are directed to land at the nearest airport. 

9:57 am: Passengers onboard Flight 93 revolt against the hijackers and attempt to regain control over the plane. 

9:59 am: The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, nearly an hour after Flight 175 made impact. More than 800 people were killed. 

10:03 am: Flight 93 crashes into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers and crew storm the cockpit. Forty people passed away in the crash. But the hijackers survived. 

A student takes in the South Pool of the 9/11 Memorial after touring the 9/11 Tribute Museum in New York City, US, August 26, 2021. (Reuters)

10:28 am: The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses, an hour and 42 minutes after the plane crashed into it. More than 1,600 people in and around the building are killed in the process. 

10:50 am: Five stories of the western side of the Pentagon collapse. 

US observes 17th anniversary of 9/11 attack In this June 7, 2018 file photo, the World Trade Center site is seen from an upper floor of 3 World Trade Center in New York. (Source: AP)

11:02 am: The Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani issues an order for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan. 

8:30 pm: President Bush addressed the nation from the White House and assured Americans that those “behind these evil acts” will be identified. 

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