March 26, 2007

Pentagon Eyewitness Testimony

The Pentagon Eyewitness Testimony

Abshire, Marc

Air Force Lt. Col. Marc Abshire, 40, a speechwriter for Air Force Secretary James Roche, was working on several speeches this morning when he felt the blast of the explosion at the Pentagon. His office is on the D ring, near the eighth corridor, he said. “It shot me back in my chair. There was a huge blast. I could feel the air shock wave of it,” Abshire said. I didn’t know exactly what it was. It didn’t rumble. It was more of a direct smack. I said, This Isn’t right. Something’s wrong here. We all went out in the hallway. People were yelling Evacuate! Evacuate! And we found ourselves on the lawn and looking back on our building. It was very much a surrealistic sort of experience. It’s just definitely not right to see smoke coming out of the Pentagon. It was a very strange sight to see.

Anderson, Steve

[10/02/01: his office on the 19th floor of the USA TODAY building in Arlington, with a view of Arlington Cemetery, Crystal City, the Pentagon, National Airport and the Potomac River.]

I witnessed the jet hit the pentagon on September 11. From my office on the 19th floor of the USA TODAY building in Arlington, Va., I have a view of Arlington Cemetery, Crystal City, the Pentagon, National Airport and the Potomac RiverShortly after watching the second tragedy, I heard jet engines pass our building, which, being so close to the airport is very common. But I thought the airport was closed. I figured it was a plane coming in for landing. A few moments later, as I was looking down at my desk, the plane caught my eye. It didn’t register at first. I thought to myself that I couldn’t believe the pilot was flying so low. Then it dawned on me what was about to happen. I watched in horror as the plane flew at treetop level, banked slightly to the left, drug its wing along the ground and slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon exploding into a giant orange fireball. Then black smoke. Then white smoke.

Anderson, Ted

Lt. Col. Ted Anderson: We ran to the end of our building, turned left and saw nothing but huge, billowing black smoke, and a brilliant, brilliant explosion of fire. () One of the Pentagon’s two fire trucks was parked only 50 feet from the crash site, and it was totally engulfed in flames, Anderson says. Nearby, tanks full of propane and aviation fuel had begun igniting, and they soon began exploding, one by one. () Back in the building again, Anderson said he began screaming and hollering for people as secondary and third-order explosions started going off. One of them was a fire department car exploding-I think my right eardrum exploded at the same time, and it unequivocally scared the heck out of me.”

Anlauf, Deb & Jeff

[9/12/01: 14th-floor room in the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington]


Mrs. Deb Anlauf, resident of Colfax, Wisconsin, was in her 14th floor of the Sheraton Hotel [located 1.6 mile from the explosion], (immediately west of the Navy Annex) when she heard a “loud roar”: Suddenly I saw this plane right outside my window. You felt like you could touch it; it was that close. It was just incredible. “Then it shot straight across from where we are and flew right into the Pentagon. It was just this huge fireball that crashed into the wall (of the Pentagon). When it hit, the whole hotel shook. () Jeff didn’t feel the impact of the plane crash as directly as his wife. He was attending an environmental meeting on the second floor of the hotel when the plane struck the Pentagon. About five seconds before the crash, Jeff said he heard the sound of tin being dropped, likely as construction workers building an addition to the hotel saw the plane and dropped their building materials. Then, about 5 seconds later, the whole hotel shook, Jeff recalled. I could feel it moving. We said Oh, my gosh, What’s going on?’”

Artman, Stuart.

Lt. Col.

[9/15/01: walking near the Washington Monument] “I saw the plane that hit the pentagon. It went behind some trees.” The Ledger (Lakeland, FL) (Lexis-Nexis—Joy Murphy)

Banton, Ralph

Lt. Col.

[9/11/01: on a house porch a little more than a mile away from the Pentagon]

“It sounded like it was jetting instead of slowing down.” The Topeka Capital-Journal


tried to take the Memorial Bridge exit from I-395

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As we were driving into town on 395, there was an exit. We were trying to get off of the exit for the Memorial Bridge. On the left-hand side, there was a commercial plane coming in, and was coming in too fast and the[n?] too low, and the next thing we saw was [it?] go-down below the side of the road, and we just saw the fire that came up after that

ENSOR: Was there a sound as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We—that I can’t verify, because the windows were up in the vehicle…

ENSOR: So you believe it was a commercial airliner that was hitting the Pentagon?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, and I’m not sure exactly where the Pentagon, where it was in relationship top where the plane went down. You know, but it was relatively close to one another. Whether it hit any of the Pentagon, I am not sure

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was coming on less than a 45 degree angle, and coming down towards the side of the—of 395. And when it came down, it just missed 395 and went down below us, and then you saw the boom—the fire come up from it.

No, I did not see what kind of an airline

ENSOR: What did you think was happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that that hit the ground and exploded.

CNN News (article) (audio) (transcript)


Battle, David

[9/12/01: standing outside the Pentagon just about to enter]

Battle, an office worker at the Pentagon, was standing outside the building and just about to enter when the aircraft struck. It was coming down head first,” he said. “And when the impact hit, the cars and everything were just shaking.”

Bauer, Gary

[11/01: driving into Washington DC]

Gary Bauer, a former Presidential candidate, happened to be driving into Washington, D.C. that morning, to a press conference on Capitol Hill. “I was in a massive traffic jam, hadn’t moved more than a hundred yards in twenty minutes I had just passed the closest place the Pentagon is to the exit on 395 when all of a sudden I heard the roar of a jet engine.” I looked at the woman sitting in the car next to me. She had this startled look on her face. We were all thinking the same thing. We looked out the front of our windows to try to see the plane, and it wasn’t until a few seconds later that we realized the jet was coming up behind us on that major highway. And it veered to the right into the Pentagon. The blast literally rocked all of our cars. It was an incredible moment. / Amy Contrada / December 2001


came from behind us and banked to the right and went into the Pentagon.”

Interview with Warren Smith

Beans, Michael

Anger and guilt still sear Lieutenant Colonel Michael Beans who shakes his head ruefully and asks himself why he survived: Why you, not them? Who made that decision? () Inside the Pentagon, the blast lifted Beans off the floor as he crossed a huge open office toward his desk. You heard this huge concussion, then the room filled with this real bright light, just like everything was encompassed within this bright light,” said Beans. As soon as I hit the floor, all the lights went out, there was a small fire starting to burn. His friends were not so lucky. Not far away on the same floor, Beans’ once familiar world had turned into a terrifying maze as well. Opening a door to the outer E-ring corridor, Beans saw waves of fire rolling towards him like surf on a beach. Turning back, he groped slowly back across the room on hands and knees. The sprinkler came on and that kept the smoke and heat down. But it was nerve wracking and Beans was alone, listening as the building burned. It was so quiet, he recalled. There was no screaming, nobody saying anything, just nothing. He thought he might not make it out alive. He thought about his wife, his daughter and son, his 22 years in the army. I remember taking a couple of breaths there, and I made up my mind: I just can’t go out this way, he said. Suddenly out of the smoke a man ran by. I tried to grab him, and I tried to yell at him, Beans said. But he just disappeared into the smoke. Alone again, Beans crawled with his face to the floor. Then the carpet turned to wet tile, and he looked up and saw he was in a corridor. He ran and as the smoke cleared, he saw a guard. Beans discovered later that his head and forearms were burned. He now wears special flesh-colored compression sleeves on his arms. These burns are going to heal, eventually, he said. But the memories will be with me for the rest of my life.

Begala, Paul

Paul Begala, a Democratic consultant, said he witnessed an explosion near the Pentagon. It was a huge fireball, a huge, orange fireball, he said in an interview on his mobile phone. He said another witness told him a helicopter exploded.

(AP, Washington, 9/12/2001 11:45:33 PM

Bell, Mickey

Mickey Bell: The jet came in from the south and banked left as it entered the building, narrowly missing the Singleton Electric trailer and the on-site foreman, Mickey Bell. Bell had just left the trailer when he heard a loud noise. The next thing he recalled was picking himself off the floor, where he had been thrown by the blast. Bell, who had been less than 100 feet from the initial impact of the plane, was nearly struck by one of the plane’s wings as it sped by him. In shock, he got into his truck, which had been parked in the trailer compound, and sped away. He wandered around Arlington in his truck and tried to make wireless phone calls. He ended up back at Singleton’s headquarters in Gaithersburg two hours later, according to President Singleton, not remembering much. The full impact of the closeness of the crash wasn’t realized until coworkers noticed damage to Bell’s work vehicle. He had plastic and rivets from an airplane imbedded in its sheet metal, but Bell had no idea what had happened. During Bell’s close call, other Singleton workers, including sub-foreman Greg Cobaugh, were doing other work on the first and third floors. The blast wasn’t very loud to them. They were talking about reports that two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York—not considering the noise they heard could be a similar attack.

Benedetto, Richard

Richard Benedetto, a USA TODAY reporter, was on his way to work, driving on the Highway parallel to the Pentagon: It was an American airlines airplane, I could see it very clearly. () I didn’t see the impact. () The sound itself sounded more like a thud rather than a bomb () rather than a loud bomb explosion it sounded muffled, heavy, very deep. I didn’t see any flaps, it looked like the plane was just in normal flying mode but heading straight down.  It was straight. The only thing we saw on the ground outside there was a piece of a the tail of a lamp post. (Video)
high bandwidth:
low bandwidth:

Biggert, Judy

Members of Congress have been shuttled to the site to inspect the damage. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) made the trip on Thursday. She saw remnants of the airplane. “There was a seat from a plane, there was part of the tail and then there was a part of green metal, I could not tell what it was, a part of the outside of the plane,” she said. It smelled like it was still burning.

Birdwell, Brian

LTC Brian Birdwell. He was just heading back down the hall to his office when the building exploded in front of him. The flash fire was immediate and the smoke was thick. The blast had thrown him down, giving him a concussion. He wanted to head down the hall toward the A ringbut because he couldn’t see anything he had no idea which way to go and he didn’t want to head in the wrong direction. () Once they stabilized Brian, they transferred him to George Washington Hospital wherethe best, cutting edge burn doctor in the U.S. The doctor told him that had he not gone to Georgetown first, he probably would not have survived because of the jet fuel in his lungs.


Down the hall from Yates, Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, 40, had been at his desk in Room 2E486 since 6:30 a.m. () Birdwell walked out to the men’s room in corridor 4, a move that saved his life. He had just taken three or four steps out of the bathroom when the building was rocked. Bomb! the Gulf War vet immediately thought as he was knocked down. When he stood up, he realized he was on fire. Jesus, I’m coming to see you.

Blunt, Ed



Captain Ed Blunt, an Arlington County Fire Department EMS supervisor, recounted Sept. 11 on, web site of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services:
I had already seen the first tower get hit on the news that morning. I was actually en route to a fire in Rosslyn (Va.) when the Pentagon was attacked. On my way out the door of the fire station, I warned my crew to stay alert. One of them just looked at me and said, “This is Arlington. Nothing like that will ever happen here.” When I saw him later that day at the incident, he told me he’d never say anything like that again.

Engine 101 actually saw the jetliner plow into the northwest side of the Pentagon. The radio crackled, “Engine 101—emergency traffic, a plane has gone down into the Pentagon. I made a quick U-turn and was on scene within a minute to a minute and a half of the initial impact. En route, I remembered my wife was scheduled to be on a flight to Dulles at 10 a.m.

People were just leaving their vehicles on Highway 110 and staring in disbelief. I wanted to put myself in a position where we wouldn’t be threatened by a secondary explosion. I set up triage, treatment and transport sectors in a grassy area on a hill with a good vantage point of the incident. I special ordered 20 paramedic units and a bus for the walking wounded, along with a couple of helicopters.

Once we did get inside, we were able to see the destruction for ourselves. It was extensive on the interior because of the inertia of the fire and fuel once the jet entered beyond the outer ring. The skin of the building doesn’t tell you squat about the damage. There were some areas where people hadn’t even been burned, but were killed by the forced inhalation of fumes.

Boger, Sean[1]

Sean Boger, Air Traffic Controller and Pentagon tower chief—I just looked up and I saw the big nose and the wings of the aircraft coming right at us and I just watched it hit the building. It exploded. I fell to the ground and covered my head. I could actually hear the metal going through the building.” The crew, Boger and Spc. Jacqueline Kidd, air traffic controller and training supervisor, prepared for President George W. Bush to arrive from Florida around 12:30 p.m.

Bouchoux, Donald R.

Donald R. Bouchoux, 53, a retired Naval officer, a Great Falls resident, a Vietnam veteran and former commanding officer of a Navy fighter squadron, was driving west from Tysons Corner to the Pentagon for a 10am meeting. He wrote: At 9:40 a.m. I was driving down Washington Boulevard (Route 27) along the side of the Pentagon when the aircraft crossed about 200 yards [should be more than 150 yards from the impact] in front of me and impacted the side of the building. There was an enormous fireball, followed about two seconds later by debris raining down. The car moved about a foot to the right when the shock wave hit. I had what must have been an emergency oxygen bottle from the airplane go flying down across the front of my Explorer and then a second piece of jagged metal come down on the right side of the car.”

Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2001   

Bowman, John

John Bowman, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and a contractor, was in his office in Corridor Two near the main entrance to the south parking lot. Everything was calm, Bowman said.  Most people knew it was a bomb. Everyone evacuated smartly. We have a good sprinkling of military people who have been shot at.

Bradley, Pam

I work in Washington DC area, and was on my way to work, in my car, sitting on a bridge, and saw the plane hit the pentagon. I am in a complete state of shock.  BBC News

Braman, Chris

Staff Sgt. Chris Braman : The lawn was littered with twisted pieces of aluminum. He saw one chunk painted with the letter “A,” another with a “C.” It didn’t occur to Braman what the letters signified until a man in the crowd stooped to pick up one of the smaller metal shards. He examined it for a moment, then announced: This was a jet.

Bright, Mark

Defense Protective Service officers were the first on the scene of the terrorist attack. One, Mark Bright, actually saw the plane hit the building. He had been manning the guard booth at the Mall Entrance to the building. “I saw the plane at the Navy Annex area,” he said. “I knew it was going to strike the building because it was very, very low—at the height of the street lights. It knocked a couple down.” The plane would have been seconds from impact—the annex is only a few hundred yards from the Pentagon. He said he heard the plane ‘power-up’ just before it struck the Pentagon.” As soon as it struck the building I just called in an attack, because I knew it couldn’t be accidental, Bright said. He jumped into his police cruiser and headed to the area.

Brown, Ervin

At the Pentagon, employees had heard about or seen footage of the World Trade Centre attack when they felt their own building shake. Ervin Brown, who works at the Pentagon, said he saw pieces of what appeared to be small aircraft on the ground, and the part of the building by the heliport had collapsed.

Brown, Rich

Pentagon staff raced along a wooden pathway opposite the Pentagon building, all heading towards bridges that would take them across the Potomac River. Grown men ran at full pace. Rich Brown was sitting at his desk and there was just a huge sound that shook the building for a second or two. I don’t know What’s happened. I assume It’s a coordinated terrorist attack.

Burgess, Lisa

Lisa Burgess, a reporter for the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes, said she was walking in a corridor near the blast site and was thrown to the ground by the force of the blast.


Lisa Burgess: Stars and Stripes reporter Lisa Burgess was walking on the Pentagon’s innermost corridor, across the courtyard, when the incident happened. “I heard two loud booms—one large, one smaller, and the shock wave threw me against the wall,” she said.  Burgess, reporting by telephone from the scene at about 4 p.m., said that five hours after the blast, still no one was able to get into the building. After the first casualties were removed, no one was brought out of the building, either dead or alive.

Campo, Omar

It was a passenger plane. I think an American Airways plane, Mr. Campo said. “I was cutting the grass and it came in screaming over my head. I felt the impact. The whole ground shook and the whole area was full of fire. I could never imagine I would see anything like that here.”

Candelario, Joseph

He was first alerted that the day was drastically changing when one of the medics told him that a plane hit the World Trade Center. While watching the tower burn, another plane hit the second tower. Thinking that this was a very serious terrorist attack, I went outside to the river to take a break. As I was looking across the river towards the direction of the Pentagon, I noticed a large aircraft flying low towards the White House. This aircraft then made a sharp turn and flew towards the Pentagon and seconds later crashed into it. Uniformed Services University website

Carroll, Susan

I was standing on the platform high above the [Washington Reagan] airport awaiting a Metro subway train to my office in the heart of the district, on Constitution Avenue, admiring the lovely blue skies when I saw the plane hit and the fireball and explosion at the Pentagon.

Cissell, James R.

As former Cincinnatian James R. Cissell sat in traffic on a Virginia interstate by the Pentagon Tuesday morning, he saw the blur of a commercial jet and wondered why it was flying so low. Right about the time it was crossing over the highway, it kind of dawned on me what was happening, said Cissell, son of Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Jim Cissell. In the next blink of an eye, he realized he had a front-row seat to history, as the plane plowed into the Pentagon, sending a fireball exploding into the air and scattering debris—including a tire rim suspected of belonging to the airplane—past his car. () In the next seconds dozens of things flashed through his mind. I thought, This Isn’t really happening. That is a big plane. Then I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board,” Cissell said.  While he remembers seeing the crash, Cissell remembers none of the sounds. It came in in a perfectly straight line,” he said. “It didn’t slow down. I want to say it accelerated. It just shot straight in.”

Clem, Dennis

Dennis Clem:
There was a commercial airliner that said American airlines over the side of it flying at just above treetop height at full speed headed for the Pentagon.

Cleveland, Allen

Allen Cleveland of Woodbridge Virginia looked out from a Metro train going to National Airport, to see a jet heading down toward the Pentagon. I thought, There’s no landing strip on that side of the subway tracks, “Before he could process that thought, he saw “a huge mushroom cloud. The lady next to me was in absolute hysterics.” a silver passenger jet, mid sized.”

Soon after the crash (Within 30 seconds of the crash) I witnessed a military cargo plane (Possibly a C130) fly over the crash site and circle the mushroom cloud. My brother in-law also witnessed the same plane following the jet while he was on the HOV lanes in Springfield. He said that he saw a jetliner flying low over the tree tops near Seminary RD in Springfield, VA. and soon afterwards a military plane was seen flying right behind it. I think this was also a reason for the false threat of another plane about to crash which caused rescuers to have to evacuate for a short time after the initial crash. I have done my research on this and according to time magazine it took 24 minutes before NORAD was supposedly notified about this particular jet and fighters were scrambling to intercept at that time. Isn’t it odd how there is Not a single mention of this aircraft in ANY of the articles written about this crash? Also if you had not noticed There is not a single picture or live footage of the actual jet prior to its crash at the Pentagon. Nor is there any of the one that crashed in Pennsylvania. But if Anyone who rides the metro-rail knows, there are plenty of Video cameras all around National airport at the parking Garages and the high level security buildings found all around Crystal city. (3 of which I have personally found pointed directly towards crystal city which would have given a great line of site shot of that jet prior to the crash as well as any other plane which might have been following it. I personally believe that the government new full well that this was about to happen and they are hiding something a lot bigger than they are willing to let out. I was interviewed at and gave them my full story, but they did not print it as I have told you. I also find it interesting that one of the planes engines in the Pennsylvania crash was supposedly found 5 miles prior to the crash site (This information I’m unsure of). The only thing that I’m aware of that might cause that would be a heat seeking missile. A weapon which I am pretty familiar with form Ord. training. I’m not saying that the government new exactly what was about to happen, but I do believe that they are definitely hiding something here. Many of my friends in intelligence have said the same. I work in a Gov. building in DC., but my heart is right there with you and your team. I hope you and those who served with you are doing well. Take care.


Allen Cleveland, from a Metro train going to National Airport (Also saw the C-130):
I looked to the right of the train as we were coming into the station, and noticed a jet flying in real low, about a mid-sized passenger jet flying in. I know it was silver, that's the only thing I know. (Washington Post video)

Cohen, Terry

Cohen [spelling?], Terry

People from security were saying ‘get away from the building—we don’t know what it was, just get away’.  As we walked away, there were people on the road, because we were very close to the exit, and they were saying ‘Oh my god, did you see that?  It was an airplane!  It was an airplane!’  They kept saying it was a ‘big airplane’.  I thought it was maybe just from National airport—and an airplane had hit us.  15 minutes later there was a terrible explosion again and we just went through the tunnel and away.  We weren’t being told anything—it was chaotic.  There were people who were just running.  There was a security guy just screaming to me ‘run!’  And I said ‘where do you want me to go?’  He just said ‘get away from the building’, because you didn’t know where to go.  So we were fenced in—we were only about 100 feet away from it.  It was very loud, very crazy and very smoky.  Reporter:  I would assume, like a lot of people in this area that you’re basically stuck here at this point—all of the roads are shut down, it doesn’t look like anyone is being allowed to leave the area.  Response: “The cell phones are dead, you can’t get away—you can’t get to your cars.  We’ve been walking ever since the beginning and we’ve been walking in circles.  I thought we’ve walked two miles.  You really can’t go anywhere.  We’re stuck here.  We don’t have any information.” 

“The funny thing, when I came here I’ve worked at a lot of secure buildings and that was the first question I asked.  Where is the alert sign?  There’s always an alert sign.  And I’ve walked around the building all the time and I kept thinking where is the alert sign?  It went in the new wedge the old wedge and I couldn’t find it so I asked a general—somebody with a military uniform and he said ‘This building is so safe that we don’t post that.’ So I felt very comfortable in here, where in other buildings where I’ve worked I do keep up with what’s going on in the buildings.  So I’ve never in a million years expected this to happen here at the Pentagon.” 

NBC News 11:34 AM

Cook, Scott P.

“It was a 757 out of Dulles, which had come up the river in back of our building, turned sharply over the Capitol, ran past the White House and the Washington Monument, up the river to Rosslyn, then dropped to treetop level and ran down Washington Boulevard to the Pentagon () As we watched the black plume gather strength, less than a minute after the explosion, we saw an odd sight that no one else has yet commented on. Directly in back of the plume, which would place it almost due west from our office, a four-engine propeller plane, which Ray later said resembled a C-130, started a steep decent towards the Pentagon. It was coming from an odd direction (planes don’t go east-west in the area), and it was descending at a much steeper angle than most aircraft. Trailing a thin, diffuse black trail from its engines, the plane reached the Pentagon at a low altitude and made a sharp left turn, passing just north of the plume, and headed straight for the White House. All the while, I was sort of talking at it: “Who the hell are you? Where are you going? You’re not headed for downtown!” Ray and Verle watched it with me, and I was convinced it was another attack. But right over the tidal basin, at an altitude of less than 1000 feet, it made another sharp left turn to the north and climbed rapidly. Soon it was gone, leaving only the thin black trail.

Corley, Dr.

It was striking to me how little of the building was involved in the fire, said Dr. Corley, who has reviewed the Pentagon report. The fire, he said, didn’t spread and trap other people in the building.  While 125 Pentagon workers and 59 passengers and crew members on the plane died, few if any of the workers who died were from outside the immediate impact zone.

Correa, Victor

LTC Victor Correa work at the Pentagon. () LTC Victor Correa’s office, what was the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, now the Army G-1, was in the path of the Boeing 757 that crashed into the Pentagon on a sunny fall morning. He was walking over to talk to a co-worker in the next cubicle when he was knocked down by the impact. I saw a fireball come over my head, said Correa, an Active Guard Reservist now assigned to Joint Chiefs of Staff, J-5. The fireball was coming like a wind-cloud of smoke trailing it. I also noticed to my right the windows going out and coming back in. The fireball came in and out quick—the speed of lightning. As it went back, it left a cloud of smoke and started dropping. At that time the fire system went up. Being knocked down turned out to be a life-saver. () We thought it was some kind of explosion. That somehow someone got in here and planted bombs because we saw these holes.

Creed, Dan

He and two colleagues from Oracle software were stopped in a car near the Naval Annex, next to the Pentagon, when they saw the plane dive down and level off. It was no more than 30 feet off the ground, and it was screaming. It was just screaming. It was nothing more than a guided missile at that point, Creed said. I can still see the plane. I can still see it right now. It’s just the most frightening thing in the world, going full speed, going full throttle, its wheels up, Creed recalls.


Damoose said the worst part was leaving the Pentagon and walking along Fort Meyer Drive, a bike trail, you could see pieces of the plane.


Somebody said the Pentagon’s gone up, said Dave, who would only give his first name. I said, It’s time to go home because we’re next. Near the Lincoln Memorial, Dave heard two booms, which sounded like the artillery salutes on the Mall on the Fourth of July, he said. It was likely the noise from a secondary blast at the Pentagon. Gridlock & Load

Day, Wayne T.

For one employee with Wedge Ones mechanical subcontractor John J. Kirlin Inc., Rockville MD, lucky is an understatement. We had one guy who was standing, looking out the window and saw the plane when it was coming in. He was in front of one of the blast-resistant windows,” says Kirlin President Wayne T. Day, who believes the window structure saved the man’s life. According to Matt Hahr, Kirlins senior project manager at the Pentagon, the employee was thrown about 80 ft down the hall through the air. As he was traveling through the air, he says the ceiling was coming down from the concussion. He got thrown into a closet, the door slammed shut and the fireball went past him, recounts Hahr. Jet fuel was on him and it irritated his eyes, but he didn’t get burned. Then the fireball blew over and the sprinklers came on, and he was able to crawl out of the closet and get out of the building through the courtyard.

DeChiaro, Steve

Instead of following the streams of people away from the Pentagon, Steve DeChiaro ran toward the smoke. As he reached the west side of the building he saw a light post bent in half. “But when I looked at the site, my brain could not resolve the fact that it was a plane because it only seemed like a small hole in the building,” he said. “No tail. No wings. No nothing.” He followed the emergency crews that had just arrived. He saw people hanging out of windows and others crawling from the demolished area. These people were covered in what I thought was powder—I don’t know anything about medicine or first aid, I’m an engineer—but it looked like powder, DeChiaro said. Only later did I find out that it was their skin. Civilians and soldiers joined emergency crews who were rushing inside to pull out anyone they could. But shortly after 10 a.m. police yelled at people to get back. Just as we’re about to open the door, they start screaming, There’s another inbound plane, DeChiaro said. At that moment, your thoughts are: I go in the building, I get killed, then I’m no help to anybody. In hindsight, I think we should have gone back in that building. For nearly 15 minutes, they stood watching the Pentagon burn and periodically checked the sky for another plane. That plane never reached Washington but fell, instead, in rural Pennsylvania. Teams of two and three eventually were sent back in to find more victims. But as the day grew longer, the flow of the injured stopped.,1426,MCA_945_1300676,00.html


“The only way you could tell that an aircraft was inside was that we saw pieces of the nose gear. The devastation was horrific. It was obvious that some of the victims we found had no time to react. The distance the firefighters had to travel down corridors to reach the fires was a problem. With only a good 25 minutes of air in their SCBA bottles, to save air they left off their face pieces as they walked and took in a lot of smoke, Captain Defina said. Captain Defina was the shift commander [of an aircraft rescue firefighters crew.]

Dent, Kim

We saw the shadow of a plane. We heard the engine. We all said, That plane is flying kind of close. USA TODAY

“Div Devlin”

[n some hotel]

As we sat upon the bed watching in absolute silence my oldest son, John aged 12, pointed out the window yelling, “Dad look how low that plane is!” I looked but saw nothing and was sure it was just another of the myriad of low flights on their final approach into the airport. While looking out the window a low rumble was heard and smoke began to billow up into the sky. Aerynth Atheneaum archives

DiPaula, Michael

Michael DiPaula 41, project coordinator Pentagon Renovation Team—He left a meeting in the Pentagon just minutes before the crash, looking for an electrician who didn’t show, in a construction trailer less than 75 feet away. Suddenly, an airplane roared into view, nearly shearing the roof off the trailer before slamming into the E ring.It sounded like a missile,’ DiPaula recalls Buried in debris and covered with airplane fuel, he was briefly listed by authorities as missing, but eventually crawled from the flaming debris and the shroud of black smoke unscathed. (killtown)

Dobbs, Mike

Marine Corps officer Mike Dobbs was standing on one of the upper levels of the outer ring of the Pentagon looking out the window when he saw an American airlines 737 twin-engine airliner strike the building. “It seemed to be almost coming in slow motion,” he said later Tuesday. “I didn’t actually feel it hit, but I saw it and then we all started running.  They evacuated everybody around us.


we saw a plane coming toward us, for about 10 seconds … It was like watching a train wreck. I was mesmerized. … At first I thought it was trying to crash land, but it was coming in so deliberately, so level… Everyone said there was a deafening explosion, but with the adrenaline, we didn’t hear it.  St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 13, 2001—Philip Dine

Donley, Daryl

“It just was amazingly precise,” Daryl Donley, another commuter, said of the plane’s impact. “It completely disappeared into the Pentagon.” The News Journal


I could see the windows. I saw the entire plane and then saw it fly right into the Pentagon.” CNN News (Lexis-Nexis—Transcript #090803CN.V46)

Dougherty, Jill

Jill Dougherty: It took your breath away, data analyst Jill Dougherty said of the vibration. It went right through you. I didn’t hear anything. I just felt it.

Dubill, Bob

Every morning for years Bob Dubill drove past the Pentagon on his way to work at USA Today. He was passing the building the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when he saw a jetliner fly over the roadway. It filled his field of vision. The jet was 40-feet off the ground speeding toward the Pentagon. “The wheels were up and I knew that this plane was not heading for National Airport,” he said. “This plane was going to slam into the Pentagon. I steeled myself for the explosion.” The Times Herald (Olean, NY)

Eberle, Bobby

As we slowly crept along in traffic at about 9:30 am, we rounded a bend and had the Pentagon in our sites—right in front of us Riding in a convertible with the top down, I then heard a tremendously loud noise from behind me and to my left. I looked back and saw a jet airliner flying very low and very fast. It’s amazing what can run through your mind in just a matter of seconds. As a pilot, I can’t help but look at an airplane and think about airplane topics. What I saw sent a shiver down my spine as I realized something was not right. The aircraft was so very low—as an aircraft would be on its final approach to an airport. However, if you have watched any aircraft come in for a landing, even though the aircraft is descending, it is angled up slightly. This aircraft was angled downward. In addition, landing gear would also be visible on an aircraft so low and so near landing. This aircraft had its landing gear retracted. Finally, an aircraft on final approach is traveling rather slowly. This aircraft sped by very loudly and very quickly. All of this flashed in my mind as the aircraft passed from behind my left shoulder to in front of me. It was then that the other events of the morning crystallized in the realization that tragedy was about to occur. With all of these images spinning in my head, the only words that came out of my mouth were “Oh no!” With that, the airliner crashed into the Pentagon and exploded.


Eiden, Steve

Steve Eiden, a truck driver, had picked up his cargo that Tuesday morning in Williamsburg, Va., and was en route to New York City and witnessed the aftermath. He took the Highway 95 loop in the area of the Pentagon and thought it odd to see a plane in restricted airspace, thinking to himself it was odd that it was flying so low. You could almost see the people in the windows, he said as he watched the plane disappear behind a line of trees, followed by a tall plume of black smoke. Then he saw the Pentagon on fire, and an announcement came over the radio that the Pentagon had been hit.

Elgas, Penny

Traffic was at a standstill. I heard a rumble looked out my driver’s side window and realized that I was looking at the nose of an airplane coming straight at us from over the road (Columbia Pike) that runs perpendicular to the road I was on. The plane just appeared there—very low in the air, to the side of (and not much above) the CITGO gas station that I never knew was there. My first thought was ‘Oh My God, this must be World War III!’ In that split second, my brain flooded with adrenaline and I watched everything play out in ultra slow motion, I saw the plane coming in slow motion toward my car and then it banked in the slightest turn in front of me, toward the heliport. In the nano-second that the plane was directly over the cars in front of my car, the plane seemed to be not more than 80 feet off the ground and about 4-5 car lengths in front of me. It was far enough in front of me that I saw the end of the wing closest to me and the underside of the other wing as that other wing rocked slightly toward the ground. I remember recognizing it as an American airlines plane—I could see the windows and the color stripes. And I remember thinking that it was just like planes in which I had flown many times but at that point it never occurred to me that this might be a plane with passengers. In my adrenaline-filled state of mind, I was overcome by my visual senses. The day had started out beautiful and sunny and I had driven to work with my car’s sunroof open. I believe that I may have also had one or more car windows open because the traffic wasn’t moving anyway. At the second that I saw the plane, my visual senses took over completely and I did not hear or feel anything—not the roar of the plane, or wind force, or impact sounds. The plane seemed to be floating as if it were a paper glider and I watched in horror as it gently rocked and slowly glided straight into the Pentagon. At the point where the fuselage hit the wall, it seemed to simply melt into the building. I saw a smoke ring surround the fuselage as it made contact with the wall. It appeared as a smoke ring that encircled the fuselage at the point of contact and it seemed to be several feet thick. I later realized that it was probably the rubble of churning bits of the plane and concrete. The churning smoke ring started at the top of the fuselage and simultaneously wrapped down both the right and left sides of the fuselage to the underside, where the coiling rings crossed over each other and then coiled back up to the top. Then it started over again—only this next time, I also saw fire, glowing fire in the smoke ring. At that point, the wings disappeared into the Pentagon. And then I saw an explosion and watched the tail of the plane slip into the building. It was here that I closed my eyes for a moment and when I looked back, the entire area was awash in thick black smoke.


Description: Penny Elgas built a patriotic box to preserve this piece of American airlines Flight 77, the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Context: Driving on a highway adjacent to the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, Penny Elgas stopped as she saw a passenger jet descend, clip a light pole near her, and then crash into the Pentagon. Arriving home, Elgas found this plane fragment in the back seat of her car (she theorizes that it dropped through the open sunroof). Feeling that it was her patriotic duty to preserve the fragment as a relic, she crafted a special box and lined it with red, white, and blue material.

ElHallan, Aziz

 [I was] just [driving on the] 110 [highway] north.  It was just amazing—something that you only see in the movies.  A huge airplane [which] look[ed] to me like a 757, American airlines probably flying around 60 to 70 yards on top of my car.  Everything was shaking.  The next thing we saw, the airplane crashed into the Pentagon.  We panicked, [I] put my car in park and squeezed my steering wheel until the crash was ending, and it [?] off at the Pentagon—[it] sucked in the airplane.  We didn’t see any more parts or pieces of the airplane.  [Holding up a piece of debris in the interview:] It just landed by the car.  Everybody stopped [their cars] and got out from [their] car and started running left to right, and we had [a lot of] panic at that time.  Reporter: You and so many other witnesses saw this happen today, and were powerless to stop it. [Aziz:] It’s something that you only see in the movies or in Hollywood.  I still can not believe my eyes that I saw something [like this] happen today.  We spent a good 20 minutes by the Pentagon, and suddenly the Police and Military Police started evacuating every person around [the area].  Most of the cars that had their front windshields broken because of the noise of the airplane, and just [at] the time I turned my head to the left, it [seemed] like the pilot or the person who was in charge of the airplane put full torque or treble to the airplane.”  Reporter: “It seemed like it was going faster as it was going in?”  [Aziz:] “Exactly.  As I mentioned to you, I do fly small airplanes occasionally, and it looked to me someone professional—especially when you manoeuvre and turn the airplane—it would take you a few seconds to put the wings equally [level].  It [looked] like it was [planned].  I was thinking it was the last day of my life there.  Just the way I looked at the airplane, it looked like… the rear of the [airplane was] going to land on my car… Unbelievable.  It’s something you just watch and see in the movies.  I tried to get out from the car but… immediately we saw a lot of military police and police get involved and we didn’t know if they were going to have other explosions so after the third [explosion] happened… I can not believe my eyes that I saw that.

FOX News 4:39 PM


Elliott, Bruce

Former ammunition plant official evacuated [the?] building moments before suicide airliner collision.  Col. Bruce Elliott, former commander of the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant who was reassigned to the Pentagon in July, watched in horror Tuesday as a hijacked 757 airliner crashed into the nerve center of the U.S. military command. Elliott, in a phone interview Wednesday, said he had just left the Pentagon and was about to board a shuttle van in a south parking lot when he saw the plane approach and slam into the west side of the structure. “I looked to my left and saw the plane coming in,” said Elliott, who watched it for several seconds. It was banking and garnering speed. I felt it was headed for the Pentagon. () It was like a kamikaze pilot. I felt it was going to ram the Pentagon, he said. He said the craft clipped a utility pole guide wire, which may have slowed it down a bit before it crashed into the building and burst into flames. () Elliott said the rubble was still smoldering Wednesday morning.

Evey, Walker Lee

The plane approached the Pentagon about six feet off the ground, clipping a light pole, a car antenna, a construction trailer and an emergency generator before slicing into the building, said Lee Evey, the manager of the Pentagon’s ongoing billion-dollar renovation. The plane penetrated three of the Pentagon’s five rings, but was probably stopped from going farther by hundreds of concrete columns. The plane peeled back as it entered, leaving pieces of the front of the plane near the outside of the building and pieces from the rear of the aircraft farther inside, Evey said. The floors just above the impact remained intact for about 35 minutes after the crash, allowing many people in those offices to escape, Evey said

Internally, the Wedge One project included: complete demolition of existing facilities; significant abatement of hazardous materials (most notably, 28 million lbs. of asbestos-contaminated material was removed); installation of all new electrical, mechanical, plumbing and telecommunication systems within the existing floor-plan; structural steel reinforcement; and replacement of all 1,282 windows in the section, including 386 blast-resistant units on the outermost E Ring and innermost A Ring of the building. All-new office space was created with an open space plan aimed at enhancing flexibility () Amazingly, the plane pushed through the outermost E Ring, and drove deep into the interior, its nose coming to rest just inside the C Ring.

We’ve learned—this is wedge one, okay, the newly-renovated area. The path of the airplane seems to have taken it along this route, so it entered the building slightly, on this photo, slightly to the left of what we call corridor four. There are 10 radial corridors in the building that extend from A ring out through E ring, and this is the fourth of those radial corridors. So it impacted the building in an area that had been renovated, but its path was at a—it appears to be at a diagonal, so that it entered in wedge one but passed through into areas of wedge two, an unrenovated portion of the building. And, of course, you all know It’s got rings A through E, five stories tall, et cetera. QUESTION: That seems to indicate that it came to rest in ring C, the nose cone. EVEY: Let me talk to that, because youve asked a number of questions already about the extent of penetration, et cetera. This is an overhead of the building. The point of penetration was right here, and we blocked that out to show that’s the area of collapse. The plane actually penetrated through the E ring, C ring—excuse me—E ring, D ring, C ring. This area right here is what we call A-E Drive. And unlike other rings in the building, It’s actually a driveway that circles the building inside, between the B and the C ring. The nose of the plane just barely broke through the inside of the C ring, so it was extending into A-E Drive a little bit. So that’s the extent of penetration of the aircraft. The rings are E, D, C, B and A. Between B and C is a driveway that goes around the Pentagon. It’s called A-E Drive. The airplane traveled in a path about like this, and the nose of the aircraft broke through this innermost wall of C ring into A-E Drive. QUESTION: One thing that’s confusing—if it came in the way you described, at an angle, why then are not the wings outside? I mean, the wings would have shorn off. The tail would have shorn off. And yet There’s apparently no evidence of the aircraft outside the E ring. EVEY: Actually, There’s considerable evidence of the aircraft outside the E ring. It’s just not very visible. When you get up close—actually, one of my people happened to be walking on this sidewalk and was right about here as the aircraft approached. It came in. It clipped a couple of light poles on the way in. He happened to hear this terrible noise behind him, looked back, and he actually—he’s a Vietnam veteran—jumped prone onto the ground so the aircraft would not actually—he thinks it (would have) hit him; it was that low. On its way in, the wing clipped. Our guess is an engine clipped a generator. We had an emergency temporary generator to provide life-safety emergency electrical power, should the power go off in the building. The wing actually clipped that generator, and portions of it broke off. There are other parts of the plane that are scattered about outside the building. None of those parts are very large, however. You don’t see big pieces of the airplane sitting there extending up into the air.  But there are many small pieces. And the few larger pieces there look like they are veins out of the aircraft engine. They’re circular. QUESTION: Would you say that the plane, since it had a lot of fuel on it at the impact, and the fact that there are very small pieces, virtually exploded in flames when it tore into the building? I mean, since there are not large pieces of the wings laying outside, did it virtually explode? EVEY: I didn’t see it. My people who did see it enter the building describe it as entering the building and then there being flames coming out immediately afterwards. Whether you describe it as an explosion or not, people I talk to who were there, some called it an explosion. Others called it a large fire. I’m not sure. I wasn’t there, sir. It’s just a guess on my part.

Walker Lee Evey, program manager of the Pentagon restoration project: The fire was so hot, Evey said, that it turned window glass to liquid and sent it spilling down walls into puddles on the ground. The impact cracked massive concrete columns far beyond the impact site, destabilizing a broader section of the building than contractors had originally thought.

On Sept. 11, Flight 77 sliced through the outermost three of the Pentagon’s five concentric rings. Fires from the plane’s 20,000 gallons of fuel melted windows into pools of liquid glass. The impact of the crash fractured concrete pillars well beyond the incisions in the three outer rings.

Faram, Mark

I hate to disappoint anyone, but here is the story behind the photograph. At the time, I was a senior writer with Navy Times newspaper. It is an independent weekly that is owned by the Gannett Corporation (same owners as USA Today). I was at the Navy Annex, up the hill from the Pentagon when I heard the explosion. I always keep a digital camera in my backpack briefcase just as a matter of habit. When the explosion happened I ran down the hill to the site and arrived there approximately 10 minutes after the explosion. I saw the piece that was near the heliport pad and had to work around to get a shot if it with the building in the background. Because the situation was still fluid, I was able to get in close and make that image within fifteen minutes of the explosion because security had yet to shut off the area. I photographed it twice, with the newly arrived fire trucks pouring water into the building in the background. The collapse of the building above area happened long after I left the scene. I was not even aware that that had happened until that evening when I watched the news. My photos were on the wire by noon. That was the only piece of wreckage of any SIZE that I saw, but was by no means the ONLY piece. Right after photographing that piece of wreckage, I also photographed a triage area where medical personnel were tending to a seriously burned man. A priest knelt in the middle of the area and started to pray. I took that image and left immediately. As I stepped onto the highway next to the triage area, I knelt down to tie my shoe and all over the highway were small pieces of aircraft skin, none bigger than a half-dollar. Anyone familiar with aircraft has seen the greenish primer paint that covers many interior metal surfaces—that is what these shards were covered with. I was out of the immediate area photographing other things within 20 minutes of the crash.

Flyler, Kim

Kim Flyler was trying to sneak into a parking space near to the building when she saw the plane: “At that moment I heard a plane and then a loud cracking noise Right before the plane hit the building, you could see the silhouettes of people in the back two rows. You couldn’t see if they were male or female, but you could tell there was a human being in there.”
The Observer, Sept. 8, 2002

Ford, Ken

Ken Ford: One eyewitness, State Department employee Ken Ford, said he watched from the 15th floor of the State Department Annex, just across the Potomac River from the Pentagon. We were watching the airport through binoculars, Ford said, referring to Reagan National Airport, a short distance away. The plane was a two-engine turbo prop that flew up the river from National. Then it turned back toward the Pentagon. We thought it had been waved off and then it hit the building.

Fortunato, Don

“Traffic was at a standstill, so I parked on the shoulder, not far from the scene and ran to the site. Next to me was a cab from D.C., its windshield smashed out by pieces of lampposts. There were pieces of the plane all over the highway, pieces of wing, I think. () There were a lot of people with severe burns, severe contusions, severe lacerations, in shock and emotional distress

Fowler, Charles

Navy Capt. Charles Fowler: Navy Capt. Charles Fowler, assigned to the Joint Chiefs, was working on a speech for Gen. Henry Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, when he heard the explosion. You could feel the building shake, said Fowler. You knew it was a major explosion. I grabbed all my gear and grabbed the laptop and headed out. The interesting part was we didn’t hear the alarm go off, but word got around very fast. It was an orderly evacuation Fowler’s office, on the river side, appeared to be on the opposite side from the explosion, he said. Tons of smoke was coming up from the wedge-lots of black and gray smoke.

Fraunfelter, Dan

Dan Fraunfelter: After the meeting, just before 9:30 a.m., the young engineer grabbed a subcontractor to help him repair a damaged ceiling grid on the third floor of the Pentagon’s E-Ring. The two were in the middle of the job when a strange sound ripped through the room. It lasted just a split second, says Fraunfelter, A strange sucking, whirring sound, like a loud vacuum cleaner. Then the sound stopped, the building shook violently, and the lights went out.

Frost, Stephen S.

Captain Stephen S. Frost, Medical Corps: We saw many blast injuries

Gaines, Kat

Kat Gaines, heading south on Route 110, approached the parking lots, saw a low-flying jetliner strike the top of nearby telephone poles.

Fred, Gaskins

(The plane) was flying fast and low and the Pentagon was the obvious target,” said Fred Gaskins, who was driving to his job as a national editor at USA TODAY near the Pentagon when the plane passed about 150 feet overhead. It was flying very smoothly and calmly, without any hint that anything was wrong. USA TODAY

Gerard, Steven

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this plane coming down. I was talking on my cell phone to my wife about how close I was to the airport and then I saw the fireball. Scripps Howard News Service


“I saw what looked to be maybe a 20-passenger corporate jet, no markings on the side, coming in at a shallow angle like it was landing right into the side of the Pentagon.  Huge fireball—perhaps four times the height of the Pentagon.  I was on the fifth floor, so I just automatically ran to the stairs and went down the fire escape.  Reporter: you were inside the Pentagon?  [Steven:] No, I was across the I-395 from the Pentagon in an office tower with a direct view of the Pentagon [note: this could explain why he saw a small plane].  It was at an angle—it looked like it was landing.  I couldn’t tell if the landing gear was up or down.  I don’t know if it was taking off or landing but it flew right into the side of the Pentagon, and almost immediately a huge fireball. NBC News

Gerson, Mike

I got on Interstate 395 and saw the plane come in. I didn’t see the actual impact, but 395 curves around the Pentagon, and I saw that plane coming in and said to myself, That plane is too low; it’s going to crash.’” Los Angeles Times (Lexis-Nexis—Ronald Brownstein)

Goff, Dr

Dr Goff:We used every aspect of our medical training that day to treat victims suffering from injuries ranging from inhalation and blast injuries to all levels of burns to emotional trauma,

Goldsmith, Gilah

Gilah Goldsmith, personnel attorney at the Pentagon. When she got to her office sometime around 9, she phoned her daughter and heard an incredible whomp noise. It didn’t seem so unusual since her office is situated near a narrow area where trucks sometimes come by and hit the wall. Goldsmith was told to evacuate. We saw a huge black cloud of smoke, she said, saying it smelled like cordite, or gun smoke.,1300,550486,00.html


[across the Potomac] I was working Tuesday, he says. I saw the plane. Low. Too low. Fast. Cox News Service (Lexis Nexis—Paul Reid)

Gysin, John

Gysin [spelling?], John

Navy Commander


[In the Public Affairs Office watching the World Trade Center News:] That’s when it all broke loose.  On our way to the cafeteria people just came racing out the side of the building, trying to get out of the way of the explosion.  Smoke and debris was coming down the way and people were really scared and not sure what happened.  Reporter: “You say you saw the nose gear of the plane inside of the Pentagon?” [John:] “They organized rescue teams and we all went in to see what we could do to help.  I was working in an area where between the two rings [was] a large 10-diameter hole… burst through and there was nose gear on the deck.  [There] were lots of burned out passageways—firefighters working very hard to control the fire and smoke everywhere… standing water about six inches deep in different areas, blown-out windows.  You name it—it took a very strong hit.  They had set up a triage rally point.  We all started there and they [had] to move the triage center further and further away from the building.  Most of the people made their own way out or were assisted and we would take them even further and get them a safe distance away from the building.  Smoke inhalation was the worst [problem for the victims], lacerations, heat exhaustion—for some of the people that would spend a lot of time in there trying to get out, broken [bones]—people had suffered a break in their arm or something like that.  I’ve done two deployments to the Persian Gulf, I’ve seen tankers shot up during the Gulf tanker war.  But this, this is unbelievable.

FOX News 5:29 PM

Hagos, Afework

Afework Hagos, a computer programmer, was on his way to work but stuck in a traffic jam near the Pentagon when the plane flew over. “There was a huge screaming noise and I got out of the car as the plane came over. Everybody was running away in different directions. It was tilting its wings up and down like it was trying to balance. It hit some lampposts on the way in.”


Asework Hagos, 26, of Arlington, was driving on Columbia Pike on his way to work as a consultant for Nextel. He saw a plane flying very low and close to nearby buildings. I thought something was coming down on me. I know this plane is going to crash. I’ve never seen a plane like this so low. He said he looked at it and saw American Airline insignia and when it made impact with the Pentagon initially he saw smoke, then flames.

Hammond, Cheryl

Cheryl Hammond, at the Pentagon’s south parking lot:
I thought they’d put out an alert or something, Hammond said. “We saw the big American airlines plane and started running.” (The Pentagram)

Harrington, Joe

Harrington was working on the installation of new furniture in Wedge One, when he was called out to the parking lot to talk about security with his customer moments before the crash. About two minutes later one of my guys pointed to an American airlines airplane 20 feet high over Washington Blvd., Harrington said. “It seemed like it made impact just before the wedge. It was like a Hollywood movie or something.

Haubold, Art

At about 9:20 a.m., Lt. Col. Art Haubold, a public affairs officer with air force, was in his office on the opposite side of the complex when the plane struck. We were sitting there watching the reports on the World Trade Center. All of a sudden, the windows blew in, he said. We could see a fireball out our window.

Hemphill, Albert

From the view of the Navy Annex: After a few moments, Lt Gen Ron Kadish, Director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization entered the Secure Conference Room to pursue the day’s activities and do real work. This office, with two nice windows and a great view of the monuments, the Capitol and the Pentagon was good digs by any Pentagon standard. I walked in the office and stood peering out of the window looking at the Pentagon.  As I stood there, I instinctively ducked at the extremely loud roar and whine of a jet engine spooling up. Immediately, the large silver cylinder of an aircraft appeared in my window, coming over my right shoulder as I faced the Westside of the Pentagon directly towards the heliport. The aircraft, looking to be either a 757 or Airbus, seemed to come directly over the annex, as if it had been following Columbia Pike—an Arlington road leading to Pentagon. The aircraft was moving fast, at what I could only be estimate as between 250 to 300 knots. All in all, I probably only had the aircraft in my field of view for approximately 3 seconds. The aircraft was at a sharp downward angle of attack, on a direct course for the Pentagon. It was clean, in as much as, there were no flaps applied and no apparent landing gear deployed. He was slightly left wing down as he appeared in my line of sight, as if he’d just jinked to avoid something. As he crossed Route 110 he appeared to level his wings, making a slight right wing slow adjustment as he impacted low on the Westside of the building to the right of the helo[copter], tower and fire vehicle around corridor 5. What instantly followed was a large yellow fireball accompanied by an extremely bass sounding, deep thunderous boom. The yellow fireball rose quickly as black smoke engulfed the entire Westside of the Pentagon, obscuring the whole of the heliport. I could feel the concussion and felt the shockwave of the blast impact the window of the Annex, knocking me against the desk.

Henson, Jerry

Pinned in his chair and wrapped in a shroud of thick smoke and darkness, Jerry Henson had almost given up hope. He could feel all his limbs, but they wouldn’t move. It was as if he were frozen at his desk by forces he couldn’t battle. Through the smoke, he mustered some pleas for help. His mind still raced to figure out what happened and whether this was real. It was 9:40 a.m., Sept. 11. () airliner () slammed into the Pentagon. The impact was quite clear, Henson said. But it wasn’t what you would think. It was just a loud kathump. Just a loud noise. Then all his senses failed him. The plane had sliced through the emergency lighting generators leaving everything in blackness. Books and computer monitors tumbled from the shelves behind him. Then his head throbbed. Pain shot through his legs. He couldn’t move. All he could taste was smoke and dust. I knew I was wounded some place because you can tell the difference between water and blood, he said. Blood is sticky and tacky and warm. But I couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from. For 15 minutes he and two of his staff who also were trapped in the office yelled for help. They yelled for Punches, Hensons deputy. They yelled for other survivors. They yelled for anyone at all.,1426,MCA_945_1300676,00.html


Inside the hell that was once his office, Jerry Henson freed his hands enough to move rubble off of his shoulders. He dislodged his head. But he couldn’t move the heavy desktop from his lap. It had been 15, maybe 20 minutes since everything turned dark and painful. Still no answer from Capt. Punches. Now fires were burning closer as deposits of jet fuel ignited. You could hear them lighting off, Henson said. They would go poof, kind of like when you light a furnace. You could hear these getting closer. The two other men in the office couldn’t get to Henson, but they found a hole in the wall to crawl through. And they found help. Minutes passed slowly as Henson remained trapped in the dark and more conscious of every breath. He heard rubble crumbling and splashes like footsteps in puddles. Then he saw a slice of light. I’m a doctor, I’m here to help you, said a voice. Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Tarantino, the doctor, and Capt. David M. Thomas Jr. had dodged slithering electrical wires and dripping solder to reach Henson. Tarantino, realizing Henson was pinned, got on his back and lifted the table top with his feet enough for Henson to slide out. Thomas and Tarantino pulled him back out through the maze. With a blur of light and a rush of fresh air, Henson knew he was safe. Jerry Henson, now 65, spent four days at nearby Arlington Hospital Center. Doctors sewed up the gash in the back of his head and on his chin. His neck was sprained, his back was sore, and he still needed treatment for smoke inhalation. I was eager to get out, he said. I thought the sooner I was able to get walking and breathing, the better I’d avoid pneumonia and things like that.,1426,MCA_945_1300676,00.html

Hernandez, Eugenio

I was in my Jeep Cherokee, driving on Route 395 toward DC and listening to NPR. I saw the plane coming down.”

The Washingtonian (Lexis-Nexis)

Hey, Fred

Congressional staff attorney Fred Hey was driving by on Route 50 at that moment. “I can’t believe it! This plane is going down into the Pentagon!” he shouted into his cellphone. On the other end of the line was his boss, Rep. Bob Ney ® of Ohio. Representative Ney immediately phoned the news to House Sergeant-At-Arms Bill Livingood, who ordered an immediate evacuation of the Capitol itself. The Christian Science Monitor

Holland, Nicholas

Nicholas Holland, an engineer with AMEC Construction Management of Bethesda, Md., had spent the last two years working to reinforce the walls. Two summers ago, a blast wall of reinforced steel and concrete was installed right where the plane hit. It stood for 25 minutes after it was hit before collapsing, long enough for people to escape, Holland said.

Hovis, Tom

Being a former transport type (60’s era) I cannot understand how that plane hit where it did giving the direction the aircraft was taking at the time. As most know, the Pentagon lies at the bottom of two hills from the west with the east side being next to the river at 14th street bridge. One hill is at the Navy Annex and the other is Arlington Cemetery. The plane came up I-395 also known as Shirley Hwy. (most likely used as a reference point.) The plane had been seen making a lazy pattern in the no fly zone over the White House and US Cap. Why the plane did not hit incoming traffic coming down the river from the north to Reagan Natl. is beyond me. Strangely, no one at the Reagan Tower noticed the aircraft. Andrews AFB radar should have also picked up the aircraft I would think. Nevertheless, the aircraft went southwest near Springfield and then veered left over Arlington and then put the nose down coming over Ft Myer picking off trees and light poles near the helicopter pad next to building. It was as if he leveled out at the last minute and put it square into the building. The wings came off as if it went through an arch way leaving a hole in the side of the building it seems a little larger than the wide body of the aircraft. The entry point was so clean that the roof (shown in news photo) fell in on the wreckage. They are just now getting to the passengers today. The nose wheel I understand is in the grass near the second ring. Right now it is estimated that it will take two years to repair the damage. Ironically, the area had just been remodeled with most of the area was still blocked off and some offices were empty. I know a young Army Major who went to a planned staff meeting at 8:30 am sharp. He left his office and attended the meeting, there was something he needed. He called his friend also a major near his office on his cell phone. As they were talking his friend said, My God a plane has just came through near your office (which was not part of the new area, but near it). Fire rolled down the hallway, somehow his friend on the phone ducked down another hallway. Four of the Major’s friends did not make it. Incidentally, the fireball also went along the outside of the building as shown by the blackened side of the building to left of the impact point. The reason the fire took so long to put out was because the attic was filled with horse hair for insulation put there in 1942 when the building was built.

Hudson, Ed

I was coming to work at the Navy Annex, I was passing by Fort Myer and I saw a large airliner sized plane—roughly a 767 size airliner.  Very deep descent [as it was] approaching the Pentagon.  I didn’t actually see the impact, but I did hear the blast and I saw the smoke rising from the crash later… this was shortly after hearing the news about the crashes at the World Trade Towers.  It seemed deliberate—it was outside the normal flight patterns for international airport.  Reporter: “I’ve seen debris 20 feet from where we’re standing—have you seen debris also?” Answer: “Yes… it just seemed like parts of the landing carriage or possibly the engines.”  Reporter: Within the last 10 minutes or so [time is indicated as 10:28am on the footage], they started a second evacuation of the Pentagon area—we’re told that there’s another aircraft that’s been hijacked, and it’s 20 minutes outside of Washington DC.  Emergency crews with bullhorns have been coming through this area telling everybody to get back.  Is that what [you are hearing]?  Answer: Yes.

FOX News 10:26 AM

Hunt, Bob

Bob Hunt, a member of the Sierra Times staff was in his Downtown Washington office when the explosion at the Pentagon occurred. About a third of the sky was blacked with smoke, He said. Hunt was in contact with this office via e-mail on September 11 until he left work and decided to walk, rather than catch a crowded subway. I talked to a number of average people in route who said they saw the plane hovering over the Washington Mall Area at an altitude lower that the height of the Washington Monument Hunt stated. He said they reported to him they could clearly see the markings of an American airlines airliner and some even said they could make out faces of passengers in the aircraft windows. Again, this is what Bob Hunt heard from witnesses on the street in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001.

Hurst, Joe

I saw it go overhead, the plane. Boston Globe (Lexis Nexis—Brian McGrory)

James, Isabel

I saw a plane going down—big plane, commercial airliner type going down full speed and just [go] inside the side of the Pentagon.  Obviously, it was going in the Pentagon purposefully.  We were driving down from Columbia pike and it just flew right over us, full speed, and I told my husband ‘he’s going into the Pentagon’.  We heard the direct hit—huge crash, saw this fireball, flame and smoke.  Reporter: so you actually saw the plane impact the side of the building?”  [Isabel:] “Yes I did…  I didn’t see any markings because we just saw the underneath portion of it.  It was just going as I said, full speed, so we didn’t really have any time to see anything, plus with the trees.  If I had looked at it longer, maybe I would have seen something—but with the trees there, we didn’t see any type of markings.  But it was a big plane, maybe a 737—my husband said 747, but I’m not positive, I don’t know for sure.  But it was big, definitely the kind of plane when you get on when you want to fly to L.A. or wherever.”  Reporter:  “I have heard a total of three booms—the initial boom and I heard three less large booms, but booms nonetheless—have you heard the same thing?”  [Isabel:] “Yes I did—smaller explosions.  Maybe it’s inside the building from gas lines exploding or something—I don’t know.  We heard the other explosions.  I don’t see any other smoke anywhere so I suppose it’s from inside the building.”

NBC News 10:16 AM


James, Michael

The plane came over the top of us [over our car] and brushed the trees. Then it looked like it hit the helicopter pad and skipped up and went right into the first and second floors.” Rocky Mountain News (Lexis-Nexis—M. E. Sprengelmeyer)

Jarvis, Will

From time spent on military aircraft as part of his job at the Pentagon, Will Jarvis (who graduated with a bachelor of applied science in 1987 while attending New College) knows what aviation fuel smells like. That smell was his only clue that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon, where he works as an operations research analyst for the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Jarvis, who was around the corner from the disaster, tried but failed to see the plane when he left the building. There was just nothing left. It was incinerated. We couldn’t see a tail or a wing or anything, he says. Just a big black hole in the building with smoke pouring out of it. For someone sitting only 300 meters away from the carnage of American airlines Flight 77, Jarvis and his officemates were surprisingly well insulated from it. We thought the plane was a dump truck backing into the building, because there was a lot of construction going on, he says. The group noticed that the sky was darker than normal, but still didn’t think much of it. “Then I saw little bits of silver falling from the sky,” says Jarvis.

Joyce, Tom

Tom Joyce, a Navy captain, was reading at his desk on the fifth floor in the building’s fifth wing, when the plane hit. The impact knocked him out of his chair. The whole building shook, Captain Joyce said. Smoke started coming into the building.


[Pentagon City residence]

I live in Pentagon City (part of Arlington) and can see the Pentagon when I look out my window. It was so shocking, I was listening to the news on what had happened in New York, and just happened to look out the window because I heard a low flying plane and then I saw it hit the pentagon. It happened so fast it was in the air one moment and in the building the next BBC News

Kaiser, Andrea

As I was driving down 95 heading towards the Pentagon, one of my members, teammates, said, ‘What is that plane doing?’ And by the time I looked up, the plane was moving so fast all I saw was an explosion. ABC Good Morning America (Lexis-Nexis)

Kean, Terrance

Terrance Kean, 35, who lives in a 14-story building nearby, heard the loud jet engines and glanced out his window. I saw this very, very large passenger jet,” said the architect, who had been packing for a move. It just plowed right into the side of the Pentagon. The nose penetrated into the portico. And then it sort of disappeared, and there was fire and smoke everywhere It was very sort of surreal.”

Keglovich, James

They began exclaiming, Where’s he going? What’s he doing? when suddenly they saw the plane clip a taxi cab on the nearby bridge. The crash was exceptionally loud, he said. It shook the building and knocked people down who were closer to the point of impact.” The Tampa Tribune (Lexis-Nexis—Panky Snow)

Kelly, Lesley

Cmdr. U.S. Navy (Ret.)

On Sept. 11, I was standing in a break room of an office in downtown D.C., when I looked out the window to see an airplane descend into the side of the Pentagon The Oregonian

Khavkin, D. S.

from an 8th floor high-rise: At first, we thought it was the jets that sometimes fly overhead. However, it appeared to be a small commercial aircraft…”

King, John

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESP.: Aaron, I'm standing in Lafayette Park, directly across the White House, perhaps about 200 yards away from the White House residence itself. The Secret Service has pushed most people all the way back to the other side of the park. I'm trying to avoid having that done to me at the moment.  Just moments ago they started slowing evacuating the White House about 30 minutes ago. Then, in the last five minute people have come running out of the White House and the old executive office building, which is the office building right directly across from the White House.  About 10 minutes ago, there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don't see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space.  No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky.

Kirk, Mark Steven

Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), a Naval Reserve intelligence officer. Apparently, the fire killed everybody in there, said Kirk, shortly after he learned that two friends perished in the center. Kirk also went to the site. The first thing you smell is the burning. And then you can smell the aviation fuel. And then you can smell this sickly, rotten-meat smell, he said.

Kizildrgli, Aydan

Aydan Kizildrgli, an English language student who is a native of Turkey, saw the jetliner bank slightly then strike a western wall of the huge five-sided building that is the headquarters of the nation’s military. ‘There was a big boom,’ he said. ‘Everybody was in shock. I turned around to the car behind me and yelled Did you see that? Nobody could believe it.’
- Bush Vows Retaliation for ‘Evil Acts’. USA Today, 11 Sep 2001

Krohn, Charles H.

One of the aircraft’s engines somehow ricocheted out of the building and arched into the Pentagon’s mall parking area between the main building and the new loading dock facility, said Charles H. Krohn, the Army’s deputy chief of public affairs. Those fleeing the building heard a loud secondary explosion about 10 min. after the initial impact.

Krug, Ann

Ann Krug’s kindergarten class saw the plane crash outside the classrooms window. I actually pointed it out and said: ‘Look at this plane; look at how low It’s flying,’ Krug recalled. And then we all saw it come down. The Washington Post

Lagasse, William


Defense Protective Service

Sgt. William Lagasse, a pentagon police dog handler, the son of an aviation instructor, was filling up his patrol car at a gas station near the Pentagon when he noticed a jet fly in low. He watched as the plane plowed into the Pentagon. Initially, he thought the plane was about to drop on top of him—it was that close. Lagasse knew something was wrong. The 757’s flaps were not deployed and the landing gear was retracted.


I saw the aircraft above my head about 80 feet above the ground, 400 miles an hour. The reason, I have some experience as a pilot and I looked at the plane. Didn’t see any landing gear. Didn’t see any flaps down. I realized it wasn’t going to land. . . . It was close enough that I could see the windows and the blinds had been pulled down. I read American airlines on it I got on the radio and broadcast. I said a plane is, is heading toward the heliport side of the building.


Sgt. William Lagasse in an email conversation with “my good friend” Dick Eastman:

Dear Sir rest assured it was a Boeing 757 that flew into the building that day, I was on duty as a pentagon police sgt. I was refueling my vehicle at the barracks gas station that day adjacent to the aircrafts flight path. It was close enough that I could see the windows had the shades pulled down, it struck several light poles next to rt. 27 and struck a trailer used to store construction equipment for the renovation of the pentagon that was to the right of the fuselage impact point. The fact that you are insinuating that this was staged and a fraud is unbelievable. You ask were the debris is…well it was in the building… I saw it everywhere. I swear to god you people piss me off to no end. I invite you and you come down and I will walk you through it step by step. I have more than a few hours in general aviation aircraft and can identify commercial airliners. Have you ever seen photos of other aircraft accident photos…? there usually isn’t huge amounts of debris left… how much did you see from the WTC…? are those fake aircraft flying into the building. I know that this will make no difference to you because to even have a website like this you are obviously a different sort of thinker.

Leonard, Robert A.

[driving northbound in the HOV lanes on I-395; His car passed the crest of the hill, at the point where Washington comes fully into view and the Pentagon is on the left] I looked in the rearview mirror to check the traffic and saw only a plane, flying very low. I followed it in my left outside mirror. I braked, looked out my left window and saw a large commercial aircraft aiming for the Pentagon.” “The aircraft, so close to the ground, was banked skillfully to the right, leveled off perpendicular to the Pentagon’s southwest side, then went full throttle directly toward the building. The plane vanished, absorbed by the building, and there was a slight pause. Then a huge fireball rose into the sky. The Washington Post (Lexis-Nexis)

Liebner, Lincoln

I saw this large American airlines passenger jet coming in fast and low,” said Army Captain Lincoln Liebner. “My first thought was I’ve never seen one that high. Before it hit I realized what was happening.”


After the second plane hit the World Trade Center, Major Lincoln Leibner jumped in his pickup truck and raced to the Pentagon. As he ran to an entrance, he heard jet engines and turned in time to see the American airlines plane diving toward the building. “I was close enough that I could see through the windows of the airplane, and watch as it as it hit,” he said. There was no doubt in my mind what I was watching. Not for a second. It was accelerating, he said. “It was wheels up, flaps up, engines full throttle.”


Maj. Leibner drove in and made it as far as the south parking lot, where he got out on foot. “I heard the plane first,” he said. I thought it was a flyover Arlington cemetery. From his vantage point, Maj. Leibner looked up and saw the plane come in. I was about 100 yards away, he said. You could see through the windows of the aircraft. I saw it hit. The plane came in hard and level and was flown full throttle into the building, dead center mass, Maj. Leibner said. “The plane completely entered the building,” he said. I got a little repercussion, from the sound, the blast. I’ve heard artillery, and that was louder than the loudest has to offer. I started running toward the site. I jumped over a fence. I was probably the first person on the scene. A tree and the backend of a crash truck at the heliport near the crash site were on fire and the ground was scorched, Maj. Leibner recounted. The plane went into the building like a toy into a birthday cake,” he said. “The aircraft went in between the second and third floors.” At that point, no one was outside. Spotting a Pentagon door that had been blown off its hinges, Maj. Leibner went in and out several times, helping rescue several people. The very first person was right there, he said. She could walk. I walked her out onto the grass. Maj. Leibner said a police officer pulled up onto the grass and began to help. Everybody was hurt, Maj. Leibner said. They were all civilian females. Everybody was burned on their hands and faces.

Captain Lincoln Leibner says the aircraft struck a helicopter on the helipad, setting fire to a fire truck. We got one guy out of the cab, he said, adding he could hear people crying inside the wreckage. Captain Liebner, who had cuts on his hands from the debris, says he has been parking his car in the car park when the crash occurred.

Lyman, Mary

[driving northbound on I-395] ‘I saw a plane coming what I thought was toward National Airport, which is very close. You see that all the time. But this one looked different. It was at a very steep angle, and going very fast. I had been hearing about the World Trade Center before I left, and wondered, is this part of that? Then the plane disappeared, smoke started coming up, and traffic came to a complete stop, Lyman said. We all got out of our cars. We heard another couple of explosions, and I ran and got back in my car.” The Boston Globe


I was driving northbound to work in the District on I-395 when the Pentagon was hit. I actually saw the plane in front of me, coming in at a very steep angle toward the ground and going fast—I think I actually heard it accelerate—and then it disappeared and a cloud of smoke started billowing. The Washington Post


[Pentagon east parking lot]

I was in the Pentagon east parking lot, heading to a meeting in the wing, where the jet crashed into the building. My group (4 of us) was unaware of the happenings in New York but knew something was wrong when we saw the jet coming down the freeway, and watched it crash. The Centers for Laparoscopic Obesity Surgery website

M. K.

It was so shocking, I was listening to the news on what had happened in New York, and just happened to look out the window because I heard a low flying plane and then I saw it hit the pentagon. It happened so fast… it was in the air one moment and in the building the next… I still have a hard time believing it, but every time I look out the window, it seems to be more real than it did the time before K.M., Pentagon City, USA

“M., Rick”

[after stopping at a Citgo gas station were driving a second time around the flyover loop to get back onto I-395, heading north]

When we rounded the corner to head back to the highway we heard a sound like a missile and the plane flew in front of us by about 200 ft at ground level. I turned my head to the right and saw it crash into the Pentagon about 200 yards away. We felt the heat from the explosion! message board—unverified

Marra, David

David Marra, 23, an information-technology specialist, had turned his BMW off an I-395 exit to the highway just west of the Pentagon when he saw an American airlines jet swooping in, its wings wobbly, looking like it was going to slam right into the Pentagon: “It was 50 ft. off the deck when he came in. It sounded like the pilot had the throttle completely floored. The plane rolled left and then rolled right. Then he caught an edge of his wing on the ground.” There is a helicopter pad right in front of the side of the Pentagon. The wing touched there, then the plane cartwheeled into the building.,8599,174655-4,00.html

Martinez, Oscar

I saw a big jet flying close to the building coming at full speed. There was a big noise when it hit the building,” said Oscar Martinez, who witnessed the attack. Extrait article: Away from the Pentagon, unexplained explosions were reported in the vicinity of the State Department and the Capitol.

Mason, Don

The ASCE also interviewed Don Mason, another employee of the Pentagon Renovation Program Office. At the time of the crash, Mason was “stopped in traffic west of the building,” according to the ASCE account of his story. The plane approached low,” flying ‘directly’ over him, “possibly clipping the antenna of the vehicle immediately behind him.” It also “struck three light poles between him and the building.”

Mason, the ASCE recounted, said that he saw his colleague Probst directly in the plane’s path, and he witnessed a small explosion as the portable generator was struck by the right wing.” He also recalled “seeing the tail of the plane” as it entered the building, followed by a “fireball that erupted” upon the planes impact.

McAdams, Cynthia and Daniel

Daniel and his wife Cynthia McAdams: Two other witnesses, Daniel McAdams and his wife, Cynthia, said they were sitting in their kitchen drinking coffee in their third-floor condominium in Arlington, Va., just two miles from the Pentagon when they heard a plane fly directly overhead around 9:45 a.m. It was unusually loud and low. Seconds later, they heard a big boom and felt the doors and windows of their three-story building shake. From their window, they could see a plume of black smoke coming from the Pentagon. I said, Oh my God I can t even come to grips. It s just a shock, said Daniel McAdams, a freelance journalist. It s scary to just be so close Who knows if there’s another one being hijacked that could miss the target? I feel like a target here. Soon after, military planes including F-15s were circling the Pentagon. Traffic clogged McAdams street as workers fled.

McClain, Tom

Lt Col (ret) Tom McClain : I saw the remains of the engines in the North parking lot of the Pentagon as well as melted aluminum and other debris left from the aircraft.

McClellan, Kenneth

A C-130 cargo plane had departed Andrews Air Force Base en route to Minnesota that morning and reported seeing an airliner heading into Washington “at an unusual angle,” said Lt. Col. Kenneth McClellan, a Pentagon spokesman. Air-traffic control officials instructed the propeller-powered cargo plane ‘to let us know where It’s going,’ McClellan said. But, he said, there was no attempt to intercept the hijacked airliner. “A C-130 obviously goes slower than a jet,” McClellan said. “There was no way he was going to intercept anything.” The C-130 pilot “followed the aircraft and reported it was heading into the Pentagon,” he said. “He saw it crash into the building. He saw the fireball.” In the days immediately following the Sept. 11 hijackings, the Pentagon had no knowledge of the C-130’s encounter, because all reports were classified by the Air National Guard, the Pentagon spokesman said. It was very hard to get any information out, McClellan said. Daily Press

McCusker, Elaine

Traffic is normally slow right around the Pentagon as the road winds and we line up to cross the 14th Street bridge heading into the District of Columbia. I don’t know what made me look up, but I did and I saw a very low-flying American airlines plane that seemed to be accelerating. My first thought was just No, no, no, no, because it was obvious the plane was not heading to nearby Reagan National Airport. It was going to crash.

McGraw, Stephen

Father Stephen McGraw was driving to a graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery the morning of Sept. 11, when he mistakenly took the Pentagon exit onto Washington Boulevard, putting him in a position to witness American airlines Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon. “The traffic was very slow moving, and at one point just about at a standstill,” said McGraw, a Catholic priest at St. Anthony Parish in Falls Church. “I was in the left hand lane with my windows closed. I did not hear anything at all until the plane was just right above our cars.” McGraw estimates that the plane passed about 20 feet over his car, as he waited in the left hand lane of the road, on the side closest to the Pentagon. “The plane clipped the top of a light pole just before it got to us, injuring a taxi driver, whose taxi was just a few feet away from my car.”  “I saw it crash into the building,” he said. “My only memories really were that it looked like a plane coming in for a landing. I mean in the sense that it was controlled and sort of straight. That was my impression,” he said. There was an explosion and a loud noise and I felt the impact. I remember seeing a fireball come out of two windows (of the Pentagon). I saw an explosion of fire billowing through those two windows. He literally had the stole in one hand and a prayer book in the other and in one fluid motion crossed the guardrail, said Mark Faram, a reporter from the Navy Times who witnessed McGraw in the first moments after the crash.

McIntyre, Jamie


CNN Pentagon Correspondent

JAMIE MCINTYRE: A short—a while ago I walked right up next to the building, firefighters were still trying to put the blaze. The fire, by the way, is still burning in some parts of the Pentagon. And I took a look at the huge gaping hole that's in the side of the Pentagon in an area of the Pentagon that has been recently renovated, part of a multibillion dollar renovation program here at the Pentagon. I could see parts of the airplane that crashed into the building, very small pieces of the plane on the heliport outside the building. The biggest piece I saw was about three feet long, it was silver and had been painted green and red, but I could not see any identifying markings on the plane. I also saw a large piece of shattered glass. It appeared to be a cockpit windshield or other window from the plane.


Back here, the fight goes on to put out the fire inside the Pentagon. The heat from that blaze was described as absolutely intense, and the number of casualties here has still not been released. Dozens of people were taken away in ambulances, and the Pentagon is still not releasing any figures on deaths. But clearly, people who had offices in that, what is now a huge gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon, clearly, there was some people killed in this tragedy…


WOODRUFF: Jamie, Aaron was talking earlier—or one of our correspondence was talking earlier—I think—actually, it was Bob Franken—with an eyewitness [Note: the name of the eyewitness was Tim Timmerman, a pilot.] who said it appeared that that Boeing 757, the American jet, American Airline jet, landed short of the Pentagon

Can you give us any better idea of how much of the plane actually impacted the building?

MCINTYRE: You know, it might have appeared that way, but from my close-up inspection, there's no evidence of a plane having crashed anywhere near the Pentagon [note: This ignores his statement about the debris. I think he means there is no evidence that the plane crashed on the ground near the Pentagon, although it is somewhat ambiguous.]. The only site is the actual site of the building that's crashed in, and as I said, the only pieces left that you can see are small enough that you can pick up in your hand. There are no large tail sections, wing sections, fuselage, nothing like that anywhere around, which would indicate that the entire plane crashed into the side of the Pentagon and then caused the side to collapse.


Even though if you look at the pictures of the Pentagon you see that the floors have all collapsed, that didn't happen immediately. It wasn't until almost about 45 minutes later that the structure was weakened enough that all of the floors collapsed.




McNair, Phil

Crawling, McNair turned toward the E Ring. The heat grew even fiercer, and as he neared the door to the corridor he saw bright orange through the crack along its bottom. He reversed course, yelling, We’ve got to get out the other way.

Mencl, Peggy

Inside a courtyard deep inside the Pentagon, program analyst Peggy Mencl (cq) heard the blast. The doors blew out and debris just came flying out from the doors, Mencl said. It blew me 10 feet. She was uninjured but still had debris in her hair.

Middleton, William Sr.

Lapic ventured to Arlington National Cemetery to interview a groundskeeper who watched in horror as the plane crashed into the Pentagon. The worker, William Middleton Sr., was running his street sweeper through the cemetery when he heard a harsh whistling sound overhead. Middleton looked up and spotted a commercial jet whose pilot seemed to be fighting with his own craft. Middleton said the plane was no higher than the tops of telephone poles as it lurched toward the Pentagon. The jet accelerated in the final few hundred yards before it tore into the building. My sweeper has three wheels. I almost tipped it over as I watched, Middleton said. SouthCoast Today (Massachusetts)

Milburn, Kirk

I was right underneath the plane, said Kirk Milburn, a construction supervisor for Atlantis Co., who was on the Arlington National Cemetery exit of Interstate 395 when he said he saw the plane heading for the Pentagon. “I heard a plane. I saw it. I saw debris flying. I guess it was hitting light poles,” said Milburn. “It was like a WHOOOSH whoosh, then there was fire and smoke, then I heard a second explosion.”—(Washington Post, September 11, 2001)—

Mitchell, Mitch

Ret. Army Col.


Just as we got even with the Pentagon, I looked out to the front and saw, coming straight down the road at us, a huge jet plane clearly with American airlines written on it, and it looked like it was coming in to hit us. I told my wife, ‘It’s going to hit the pentagon.’ It crossed about 100 feet in front of us and at about 20 feet altitude and we watched it go in. It struck the Pentagon, and there was no indication whatever that it was doing anything other than performing a direct attack on that building. The landing gear was up. There were no flaps down and it looked like a deadly missile on the final phase of its mission into the building.”
We saw what I estimate to be about the last seven seconds of the flight. It was a straight-in flight, angled slightly down, and there was—there was no intent to turn or to maneuver in any way. It was headed straight for its target and we were helpless to do anything about it but watch.” CBS The Early Show (Lexis-Nexis)

Mitchell, Terry

This is a hole in—there was a punch-out. They suspect that this was where a part of the aircraft came through this hole, although I didn’t see any evidence of the aircraft down there. () This pile here is all Pentagon metal. None of that is aircraft whatsoever. As you can see, they’ve punched a hole in here. This was punched by the rescue workers to clean it out. You can see this is the—some of the unrenovated areas where the windows have blown out.

Moody, Sheila

Sheila Moody, in Room 472, heard a whoosh and a whistle and she wondered where all this air was coming from. Then a blast of fire that left as fast as it came. She looked down and saw her hands aflame, so she shook them. She saw some light from a window but could not reach it and could not find anything to break it with in any case. Then she heard a voice. Hello! a man called out. I can’t see you. Hello, she called back, and clapped her hands. She heard him approach and sensed the ‘shoosh’ of a fire extinguisher and then saw him through a cloud of smoke, the rescuer who would bring her out and ease her fear that she would never get to see her grandchildren.

Morin, Terry

Terry Morin, a former USMC aviator, Program Manager for SPARTA, Inc was working as a contractor at the BMDO offices at the old Navy Annex. Having just reached the elevator in the 5th wing of BMDO Federal Office Building (FOB) #2. He heard “an increasingly loud rumbling” One to two seconds later the airliner came into my field of view. By that time the noise was absolutely deafening. The aircraft was essentially right over the top of me and the outer portion of the FOB (flight path parallel the outer edge of the FOB). Everything was shaking and vibrating, including the ground. I estimate that the aircraft was no more than 100 feet above me (30 to 50 feet above the FOB) in a slight nose down attitude. The plane had a silver body with red and blue stripes down the fuselage. I believed at the time that it belonged to American airlines, but I couldn’t be sure.  It looked like a 737 and I so reported to authorities. Within seconds the plane cleared the 8th wing of BMDO and was heading directly towards the Pentagon. Engines were at a steady high-pitched whine, indicating to me that the throttles were steady and full. I estimated the aircraft speed at between 350 and 400 knots. The flight path appeared to be deliberate, smooth, and controlled. As the aircraft approached the Pentagon, I saw a minor flash (later found out that the aircraft had sheared off a portion of a highway light pole down on Hwy 110. As the aircraft flew ever lower I started to lose sight of the actual airframe as a row of trees to the Northeast of the FOB blocked my view. I could now only see the tail of the aircraft. I believe I saw the tail dip slightly to the right indicating a minor turn in that direction. The tail was barely visible when I saw the flash and subsequent fireball rise approximately 200 feet above the Pentagon. There was a large explosion noise and the low frequency sound echo that comes with this type of sound. Associated with that was the increase in air pressure, momentarily, like a small gust of wind. For those formerly in the military, it sounded like a 2000lb bomb going off roughly ½ mile in front of you. At once there was a huge cloud of black smoke that rose several hundred feet up. Elapsed time from hearing the initial noise to when I saw the impact flash was between 12 and 15 seconds. () the aircraft had been flown directly into the Pentagon without hitting the ground first or skipping into the building. () The firemen were appreciative, as the heat inside the building generated from the 8,500 gallons of jet fuel was, in their words, unbelievable. It was reported that at least three of the fireman had to be given IV fluids due to the extreme heat.

Mosley, James

James Mosley, four stories up on a scaffold at the Navy Annex, I looked over and saw this big silver plane run into the side of the Pentagon


The building starting shaking, and I looked over and saw this big silver plane run into the side of the Pentagon. It almost knocked me off. UCLA website

Munsey, Christopher

A silver, twin-engine American airlines jetliner gliding almost noiselessly over the Navy Annex, fast, low and straight toward the Pentagon, just hundreds of yards away. It was a nightmare coming to life. The plane, with red and blue markings, hurtled by and within moments exploded in a ground-shaking “whoomp” as it appeared to hit the side of the Pentagon. A huge flash of orange flame and black smoke poured into the sky. Smoke seemed to change from black to white, forming a billowing column in the sky.

Murphy, Peter M.

Mr. Peter M. Murphy: No Marine Corps offices were closer to the impact point than those of Mr. Peter M. Murphy, the Counsel for the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the most senior civilian working for the Marine Corps. Mr. Murphy and Major Joe D. Baker were having a discussion in Mr. Murphy’s office on the fourth floor of the Pentagon’s outermost ring, the E-Ring, overlooking the helo-pad. With CNN on a TV monitor across the room, they stopped their discussion when the news of the World Trade Center attacks came on. After watching awhile, Mr. Murphy asked Mr. Robert D. Hogue, his Deputy Counsel, to check with their administrative clerk, Corporal Timothy J. Garofola, on the current security status of the Pentagon. Garofola had just received an e-mail from the security manager to all Department of Defense employees that the threat condition remained normal. He passed this information to Hogue, who stepped back into the doorway of Mr. Murphy’s office to relay the message. At that instant, a tremendous explosion with what Mr. Murphy said was a noise louder than any noise he had ever heard shook the room. Mr. Murphy, who had been standing with his back to the window, was knocked entirely across the room, while Hogue was jolted into his office. Garofola’s desk literally rose straight up several inches then slammed down. The airplane had crashed almost directly below Mr. Murphy’s offices. The floor buckled at the expansion joint that ran between the two offices and created a discernible step up between the two rooms. The air was filled with dust particles, and the ceiling tiles fell, leaving the lights dangling from their electrical connections; the building was crumbling. The men did not know what had hit them, but they did know that it was time to get out. There was no panic, just a shock-hazed determination to survive. Hogue went to Garofola and told him to get us out of here. The corporal attempted to open the heavy magnetized door, but it had been jammed and did not budge. Then, Mr. Murphy saw the Marine come out in Garofola. He yanked the door as hard as he could and it came open.

Myers, Richard

General Richard Myers, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that before the crash into the Pentagon, military officials had been notified that another hijacked plane had been heading from the New York area to Washington.

Narayanan, Vin

The plane exploded after it hit, the tail came off and it began burning immediately. Within five minutes, police and emergency vehicles began arriving, said Vin Narayanan, a reporter at USA, who was driving near the Pentagon when the plane hit.

At 9:35 a.m., I pulled alongside the Pentagon. With traffic at a standstill, my eyes wandered around the road, looking for the cause of the traffic jam. Then I looked up to my left and saw an American airlines jet flying right at me. The jet roared over my head, clearing my car by about 25 feet. The tail of the plane clipped the overhanging exit sign above me as it headed straight at the Pentagon. The windows were dark on American airlines Flight 77 as it streaked toward its target, only 50 yards away. The hijacked jet slammed into the Pentagon at a ferocious speed. But the Pentagon’s wall held up like a champ. It barely budged as the nose of the plane curled upwards and crumpled before exploding into a massive fireball. The people who built that wall should be proud. Its ability to withstand the initial impact of the jet probably saved thousands of lives. I hopped out of my car after the jet exploded, nearly oblivious to a second jet hovering in the skies. Hands shaking, I borrowed a cell phone to call my mom and tell her I was safe. Then I called into work, to let them know what happened. But not once was I able to take my eyes off the inferno in front of me. I think I saw the bodies of passengers burning. But I’m not sure. It could have been Pentagon workers. It could have been my mind playing tricks on me. I hope it was my mind playing tricks on me. The highway was filled with shocked commuters, walking around in a daze.

Nelson, Todd

[At the Pentagon—minutes after the attack.  A reporter is pointing at a piece of debris:]

[Nelson, Todd:] “It looks like [a piece of] insulation—I was just standing here watching and all sorts of paper and debris… and insulation… [was] just flying down and landing on us over here… it was just amazing.”

ABC News 9:53 AM


At the Dulles tower, O’Brien saw the TV pictures from New York and headed back to her post to help other planes quickly land. We started moving the planes as quickly as we could, she says. Then I noticed the aircraft. It was an unidentified plane to the southwest of Dulles, moving at a very high rate of speed I had literally a blip and nothing more. O’Brien asked the controller sitting next to her, Tom Howell, if he saw it too. “I said, ‘Oh my God, it looks like he’s headed to the White House,’” recalls Howell. I was yelling We’ve got a target headed right for the White House!’” At a speed of about 500 miles an hour, the plane was headed straight for what is known as P-56, protected air space 56, which covers the White House and the Capitol. The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, [thought] that was a military plane, says O’Brien. “You don’t fly a 757 in that manner. It’s unsafe.” The plane was between 12 and 14 miles away, says O’Brien, “and it was just a countdown. Ten miles west. Nine miles west Our supervisor picked up our line to the White House and started relaying to them the information, [that] we have an unidentified very fast-moving aircraft inbound toward your vicinity, 8 miles west. Vice President Cheney was rushed to a special basement bunker. White House staff members were told to run away from the building. And it went six, five, four. And I had it in my mouth to say, three, and all of a sudden the plane turned away. In the room, it was almost a sense of relief. This must be a fighter. This must be one of our guys sent in, scrambled to patrol our capital, and to protect our president, and we sat back in our chairs and breathed for just a second, says O’Brien. But the plane continued to turn right until it had made a 360-degree maneuver. We lost radar contact with that aircraft. And we waited. And we waited. And your heart is just beating out of your chest waiting to hear What’s happened, says O’Brien. And then the Washington National [Airport] controllers came over our speakers in our room and said, Dulles, hold all of our inbound traffic. The Pentagon’s been hit.’”

O’Keefe, John

Northern Virginia resident John O’Keefe was one of the commuters who witnessed the attack on the Pentagon. I was going up 395, up Washington Blvd., listening to the news, to WTOP, and from my left side-I don’t know whether I saw or heard it first—I saw a silver plane I immediately recognized it as an American airlines jet,’ said the 25-year-old O’Keefe, managing editor of Influence, an American Lawyer Media publication about lobbying. ‘It came swooping in over the highway, over my left shoulder, straight across where my car was heading. I’d just heard them saying on the radio that National Airport was closing, and I thought, that’s not going to make it to National Airport.” And then I realized where I was, and that it was going to hit the pentagon. There was a burst of orange flame that shot out that I could see through the highway overpass. Then it was just black. Just black, thick smoke.’”


I don’t know whether I saw or heard it first—this silver plane; I immediately recognized it as an American airlines jet, said the 25-year-old O’Keefe, managing editor of Influence, an American Lawyer Media publication about lobbying. It came swooping in over the highway, over my left shoulder, straight across where my car was heading. The eeriest thing about it, was that it was like you were watching a movie. There was no huge explosion, no huge rumbling on ground, it just went pfff. It wasn’t what I would have expected for a plane that was not much more than a football field away from me. The first thing I did was pull over onto the shoulder, and when I got out of the car I saw another plane flying over my head, and it scared me, because I knew there had been two planes that hit the World Trade Center. And I started jogging up the ramp to get as far away as possible. “Then the plane—it looked like a C-130 cargo plane—started turning away from the Pentagon, it did a complete turnaround.


There was a burst of orange flame that shot out that I could see through the highway overpass. Then it was just black. Just black thick smoke. The eeriest thing about it, was that it was like you were watching a movie. There was no huge explosion, no huge rumbling on ground, it just went pfff. It wasn’t what I would have expected for a plane that was not much more than a football field away from me.

Owens, Mary Ann

Mary Ann Owens, a journalist with Gannett News Service—was driving along by the side of the Pentagon. Here, she recalls the events of that horrific day and her feelings about the tragedy 12 months on. The sound of sudden and certain death roared in my ears as I sat lodged in gridlock on Washington Boulevard, next to the Pentagon on September 11. Up to that moment I had only experienced shock by the news coming from New York City and frustration with the worse-than-normal traffic snarl but it wasn’t until I heard the demon screaming of that engine that I expected to die. Between the Pentagon’s helicopter pad, which sits next to the road, and Reagan Washington National Airport a couple of miles south, aviation noise is common along my commute to the silver office towers in Rosslyn where Gannett Co Inc. were housed last autumn. But this engine noise was different. It was too sudden, too loud, too encompassing. Looking up didn’t tell me what type of plane it was because it was so close I could only see the bottom. Realizing the Pentagon was its target, I didnt think the careering, full-throttled craft would get that far. Its downward angle was too sharp, its elevation of maybe 50 feet, too low. Street lights toppled as the plane barely cleared the Interstate 395 overpass. Gripping the steering wheel of my vibrating car, I involuntarily ducked as the wobbling plane thundered over my head. Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area just before the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon. Still gripping the wheel, I could feel both the car and my heart jolt at the moment of impact. An instant inferno blazed about 125 yards from me. The plane, the wall and the victims disappeared under coal-black smoke, three-storey tall flames and intense heat. As the thudding stopped, screams of horror and hysteria rose from the line of cars () The full impact of actually being alive overwhelmed me. A mere 125 yards had made me a witness instead of a casualty. Survival wasn’t a miracle, it was luck pure luck.


Gannett News Service employee Mary Ann Owens was stopped in traffic on the road that runs past the Pentagon, listening on the radio to the news of the World Trade Center attacks, when she heard a loud roar overhead and looked up as the plane barely cleared the highway. Instantly I knew what was happening, and I involuntarily ducked as the plane passed perhaps 50 to 75 feet above the roof of my car at great speed, Owens said. “The plane slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon. The impact was deafening. The fuselage hit the ground and blew up.


Mary Ann Owens, on a highway between Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon:
I could see office walls through the broken outer walls, then smoke and flames engulfed the west wall. Perhaps 10 seconds had passed since I first saw the plane. At first no one moved. Then debris began falling over the cars.” (Gannett News Service & This is Local London—9/11)

Pak, Zinovy

[on his way to the Pentagon] saw a plane crash into the building.” Moscow Times (Lexis-Nexis—Yevgenia Borisova)

Patterson, Steve

Steve Patterson, who lives in Pentagon City, said it appeared to him that a commuter jet swooped over Arlington National Cemetery and headed for the Pentagon “at a frightening rate just slicing into that building.” Steve Patterson, 43, said he was watching television reports of the World Trade Center being hit when he saw a silver commuter jet fly past the window of his 14th-floor apartment in Pentagon City. The plane was about 150 yards away, approaching from the west about 20 feet off the ground, Patterson said. He said the plane, which sounded like the high-pitched squeal of a fighter jet, flew over Arlington cemetery so low that he thought it was going to land on I-395. He said it was flying so fast that he couldn’t read any writing on the side. The plane, which appeared to hold about eight to 12 people, headed straight for the Pentagon but was flying as if coming in for a landing on a nonexistent runway, Patterson said. “At first I thought ‘Oh my God, There’s a plane truly misrouted from National,’” Patterson said. Then this thing just became part of the Pentagon… I was watching the World Trade Center go and then this. It was like Oh my God, What’s next? He said the plane, which approached the Pentagon below treetop level, seemed to be flying normally for a plane coming in for a landing other than going very fast for being so low. Then, he said, he saw the Pentagon “envelope” the plane and bright orange flames shoot out the back of the building. It looked like a normal landing, as if someone knew exactly what they were doing,” said Patterson, a graphics artist who works at home. “This looked intentional.”
Barbara Vobejda—Washington Post Staff Writer—Sept. 11, 4:59 PM

Perkal, Don

The airliner crashed between two and three hundred feet from my office in the Pentagon, just around a corner from where I work. I’m the deputy General Counsel, Washington Headquarters Services, Office of the Secretary of Defense. () My colleagues felt the impact, which reminded them of an earthquake. People shouted in the corridor outside that a bomb had gone off upstairs on the main concourse in the building. No alarms sounded. I walked to my office, shut down my computer, and headed out. Even before stepping outside I could smell the cordite. Then I knew explosives had been set off somewhere. I looked to my right and saw a raging fire and smoke careening off the facade to the sky. () Two explosions, a few minutes apart, prompted me to start walking.

Perry, Scott

[looking out the window of his office in the Navy Annex which faces the Pentagon] “[The plane] was coming straight into the wedge, Perry said. “I saw it crash. The Free Lance-Star

Peterson, Christine

October 18, 2001—Christine Peterson, ‘73 found herself in the thick of last month’s terrorist tragedy, and submitted this report. It offers a personal perspective on the events in Washington, D.C., which have perhaps been overshadowed in the media by the scope of the horrors in New York. It was 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11th, and traffic was terrible. For all of my twenty-eight years living in the Washington, D.C. area, terrible traffic was a constant. I’d been in Boston the day before and gotten home late. That morning I repacked my suitcase because I was heading out to San Francisco on the 3:20 p.m. flight. I just needed a few hours in the office first, and now I was officially late for work. I was at a complete stop on the road in front of the helipad at the Pentagon; what I had thought would be a shortcut was as slow as the other routes I had taken that morning. I looked idly out my window to the left—and saw a plane flying so low I said, holy cow, that plane is going to hit my car (not my actual words). The car shook as the plane flew over. It was so close that I could read the numbers under the wing. And then the plane crashed. My mind could not comprehend what had happened. Where did the plane go? For some reason I expected it to bounce off the Pentagon wall in pieces. But there was no plane visible, only huge billows of smoke and torrents of fire. ()  A few minutes later a second, much smaller explosion got the attention of the police arriving on the scene.

Petitt, Mark

I was sitting in traffic on route 110 on my way to work across the street, and it was an American airlines plane that came in and hit the Pentagon.  I believe it was a 737—I could be mistaken, it might have been a 707—but it was definitely a commercial plane.  [It happened] probably around 9:39-9:40am.  I was almost to my office, and I saw the plane coming down—it actually came up I-395 and it went over the rise and came in front of a bridge in which I was sitting [in traffic] and I knew it was going to hit.  I had already heard about the World Trade Center, and the next thing you know it was just a huge explosion.  Black smoke everywhere and I parked my car and got out, and by the time I got out all the [people from the] buildings in the area had come out into the street, and everybody was seeing what was happening, and all you could see was billowing black smoke everywhere.

NBC News 11:22 AM

Pfeilstucker, Daniel C. Jr

Daniel C. Pfeilstucker Jr., caught in the flying debris, didn’t know if he was going to make it out alive. The Pentagon was on fire. It was horrifying, Mr. Pfeilstucker says () Danny Pfeilstucker is a commissioning agent for John J. Kirlin Inc., a Maryland-based mechanical contracting company that worked on the Pentagon renovation project that was nearing completion September 11. () Kirlin Inc., among many companies involved in renovating the Pentagon since the early 1990s, was in charge of updating plumbing and heating units. Around 9:30 a.m., Mr. Pfeilstucker and a co-worker got orders to check a hot-water leak in a third-floor office on the western side. After doing so, he stepped off an elevator on the second floor in Corridor 4, ladder in hand. Suddenly the walls and the ceiling began to collapse around him. The lights went out. It went from light to dark to orange to complete black, Mr. Pfeilstucker says. It was so dark I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. Within seconds, his left leg buckled. Unable to grab on to anything, he was thrust 70 feet down the corridor and into a tiny telephone closet halfway down the hallway connecting E Ring and A Ring. All I know is that the blast must have pushed open the steel door to the closet, says Mr. Pfeilstucker, who had been 40 feet away from the plane’s point of impact. He remembers shutting the door and trying to stand up, not understanding what had just happened. I thought it was some sort of a construction blast, Mr. Pfeilstucker says. Or maybe there was a helicopter accident. His hard hat and work goggles were blown away. His ladder also had disappeared. () The fire sprinklers came on as the temperature shot up.  Then he smelled jet fuel and smoke. The putrid odor was seeping into the closet. It was this odor that I cant describe, but one that Ill never forget, thats for sure, Mr. Pfeilstucker says. It was so hard to breathe. I didnt think I was going to make it out.

Plaisted, Linda

Plaisted, an artist, was sitting at her desk at home less than one mile from the Pentagon I was sitting at my desk when I heard the sound of a very loud aircraft. Since we are not far from Reagan National Airport, at fist I just chalked it up to that and voiced my annoyance aloud for my work being disrupted. But as the sound of the plane grew louder and louder, I thought to myself- that plane is in trouble. I jumped up from my chair as the screeching and whining of the engine got even louder and I looked out the window to the West just in time to see the belly of that aircraft and the tail section fly directly over my house at treetop height. It was utterly sickening to see, knowing that this plane was going to crash. The sound was so incredibly piercing and shrill- the engines were straining to keep the plane aloft I was unaware at this time that the World Trade center had been attacked so I thought this was just a troubled plane en route to the airport. I started to run toward my front door but the plane was going so fast at this point that it only took 4 or 5 seconds before I heard a tremendously loud crash and books on my shelves started tumbling to the floor. contribution #1148

Probst, Frank

Frank Probst: a Pentagon renovation worker and retired Army officer, he was inspecting newly installed telecommunications wiring inside the five-story, 6.5-million-square-foot building.  The tall, soft-spoken Probst had a 10 a.m. meeting. About 9:25 a.m., he stopped by the renovation workers’ trailer just south of the Pentagon heliport. Someone had a television turned on in the trailer’s break room that showed smoke pouring out of the twin towers in New York. “The Pentagon would make a pretty good target,” someone in the break room commented. The thought stuck with Probst as he picked up his notebook and walked to the North Parking Lot to attend his meeting. Probst took a sidewalk alongside Route 27, which runs near the Pentagon’s western face. Traffic was at a standstill because of a road accident. Then, at about 9:35 a.m., he saw the airliner in the cloudless September sky American airlines Flight 77 approached from the west, coming in low over the nearby five-story Navy Annex on a hill overlooking the Pentagon. He has lights off, wheels up, nose down,” Probst recalled. The plane seemed to be accelerating directly toward him. He froze. “I knew I was dead,” he said later. “The only thing I thought was, ‘Damn, my wife has to go to another funeral, and I’m not going to see my two boys again.’” He dove to his right. He recalls the engine passing on one side of him, about six feet away. The plane’s right wing went through a generator trailer “like butter,” Probst said. The starboard engine hit a low cement wall and blew apart. He still can’t remember the sound of the explosion. Sometimes the memory starts to come back when he hears a particularly low-flying airliner heading into nearby Reagan National Airport, or when military jets fly over a burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Most of the time, though, his memory is silent. It was pretty horrible,” he said of the noiseless images he carries inside him, of the jet vanishing in a cloud of smoke and dust, and bits of metal and concrete drifting down like confetti. On either side of him, three streetlights had been sheared in half by the airliner’s wings at 12 to 15 feet above the ground. An engine had clipped the antenna off a Jeep Grand Cherokee stalled in traffic not far away.


I was standing on the sidewalk (parallel to the site of impact)and I saw this plane coming right at me at what seemed like 300 miles an hour. I dove towards the ground and watched this great big engine from this beautiful airplane just vaporize,” said Frank Probst, a member of the Pentagon renovations crew commented. It looked like a huge fireball, pieces were flying out everywhere.


Frank Probst, an information management specialist for the Pentagon Renovation Program, left his office trailer near the Pentagon’s south parking lot at 9:36 a.m. Sept. 11. Walking north beside Route 27, he suddenly saw a commercial airliner crest the hilltop Navy Annex. American airlines Flight 77 reached him so fast and flew so low that Probst dropped to the ground, fearing he’d lose his head to its right engine.
- A Defiant Recovery. The Retired Officer Magazine, January 2002

Ragland, Clyde

Naval officer Clyde Ragland, who works near the Pentagon, was stuck in his office because the streets outside were clogged with traffic. He and his co-workers were watching television reports of the disaster in New York when we gazed out our own windows and, to our horror and disbelief, saw huge billows of black smoke rising from the northeast, in the direction of D.C. and the river and the Pentagon. Ragland described billowing black smoke and what looked like white confetti raining down everywhere.” He said it soon became apparent “that the ‘confetti’ was little bits of airplane, falling down after being flung high into the bright, blue sky.”

Rains, Lon

Eyewitness: The Pentagon By Lon Rains Editor, Space News—In light traffic the drive up Interstate 395 from Springfield to downtown Washington takes no more than 20 minutes. But that morning, like many others, the traffic slowed to a crawl just in front of the Pentagon. With the Pentagon to the left of my van at about 10 o’clock on the dial of a clock, I glanced at my watch to see if I was going to be late for my appointment. At that moment I heard a very loud, quick whooshing sound that began behind me and stopped suddenly in front of me and to my left.  In fractions of a second I heard the impact and an explosion. The next thing I saw was the fireball. I was convinced it was a missile. It came in so fast it sounded nothing like an airplane. Friends and colleagues have asked me if I felt a shock wave and I honestly do not know. I felt something, but I don’t know if it was a shock wave or the fact that I jumped so hard I strained against the seat belt and shoulder harness and was thrown back into my seat.

Ramey, Wanda

[stood at the Mall plaza booth] While Rosati couldn’t see the cause of the explosion, Wanda Ramey, a DPS master patrol officer, had had a bird’s eye view. Ramey stood at the Mall plaza booth when she saw a low-flying airplane. I saw the wing of the plane clip the light post, and it made the plane slant.  Then the engine revved up and crashed into the west side of the building,” she said. “It happened so fast. One second I saw the plane and next it was gone.” Recalling those moments again, Ramey said it appeared the building sucked the plane up inside. A few seconds later, I heard a loud boom and I saw a huge fireball and lots of smoke, she said.

MDW News (Military District of Washington)


When she thinks of that day, Ramos also recalls another burn patient whom she treated just after getting Maj. Leibner into the ambulance. I turned around and a burn patient was coming out, she said. I was afraid I’d be caught with her in the line of fire. The woman’s clothes were literally exploded off her body, Ramos said. Her legs were so bad that her skin was coming off, she said. She was really in shock. She had like a vacant stare. She was all sweaty, her legs were burned, and her clothes were blasted off her back because her back was bare. We got her onto a stretcher face down and DiDi started an IV, and they were ready to take her into the ambulance. We evacuated at that point. They later heard that the burn patient died a couple of days afterward. The victims exited the building in waves, but after a short while they stopped coming out. After the first hour, it was very frustrating, Ramos said. You felt hopeless, added Lopez. You can’t go in and no one is coming out. Ramos said she still gets galvanic skin responses when she recalls the events of that morning. Everything was so busy, you couldn’t remember everything, she said. () It took some time before Ramos, Maj. Leibner and others were able to talk openly of their experiences that day. We went to several debriefings, Ramos said.

Rasmusen, Floyd

Floyd Rasmusen, a senior management analyst at the Pentagon, was inside. All of a sudden all of my telephones cut off, he said. I heard an explosion. All of a sudden I saw all of this flaming debris come flying toward me. He got his staff out of the building.

Regnery, Alfred S.

Alfred S. Regnery, saw () a jetliner not more than a couple of hundred yards above the ground”


Alfred S. Regnery, northbound on I-395:
As I approached the Pentagon, which was still not quite in view, listening on the radio to the first reports about the World Trade Center disaster in New York, a jetliner, apparently at full throttle and not more than a couple of hundred yards above the ground, screamed overheadI knew it was about to crash.” (Human Events Online—September 17 2001)

Renzi, Rick

Rick Renzi a law student—The plane came in at an incredibly steep angle with incredibly high speed,” was driving by the Pentagon at the time of the crash about 9:40 a.m. The impact created a huge yellow and orange fireball, he added. Renzi, who was interviewed at the scene by FBI agents, said he stopped his car to watch and saw another plane following and turn off after the first craft’s impact.


The jet creamed in at a dive bombing angle BBC News (video)

Riskus, Steve

[Note: testimony farther away from the date in question is usually less reliable.]


[driving southbound—see picture in link] I am sorry to rain on your parade, but I saw the plane hit the building. It did not hit the ground first It did not hit the roof firstIt hit dead center on the side I was close enough (about 100 feet or so) that I could see the “American airlines logo on the tail as it headed towards the building… The plane looked like it was coming in about where you have the “MAX APPROACH” on that picture… I was at about where the “E” in “ANGLE OF CAMERA” is written when the plane hit It was not completely level, but it was not going straight down, kind of like it was landing with no gear down It knocked over a few light poles in its way I did not see any smoke or debris coming from the plane. I clearly saw the AA logo with the eagle in the middle I don’t really remember the engine configuration, but it did have those turbine engines on the wingand yes, it did impact the Pentagon There was none of this hitting-the-ground first crap I keep hearingIt was definitely an American airlines jet There is no doubt about that When I got to work I checked it out.” Email interview with

Robbins, James S

James S Robbins a national-security analyst & nationalreviewonline contributor: I was standing, looking out my large office window, which faces west and from six stories up has a commanding view of the Potomac and the Virginia heights. The Pentagon is about a mile and half distant in the center of the tableau. I was looking directly at it when the aircraft struck. The sight of the 757 diving in at an unrecoverable angle is frozen in my memory, but at the time. “I did not immediately comprehend what I was witnessing. There was a silvery flash, an explosion, and a dark, mushroom shaped cloud rose over the building. I froze, gaping for a second until the sound of the detonation, a sharp pop at that distance, shook me out of it.

Roberts, Willis

Lt. Willis Roberts: We’re having a lot of trouble in there. It’s about 3,000 degrees inside. The walls, the water and the metal are hot, said Lt. Willis Roberts, U.S. Army Rescue.

Rodriguez, Meseidy

Meseidy Rodriguez confirms it was a mid size plane.” His brother in-law also saw a jetliner flying low over the tree tops near Seminary Rd. in Springfield, VA. and soon afterwards a military plane was seen flying right behind it.

Rosati, Arthur

Arthur Rosati, another security officer and an army reservist, was in a meeting when the plane hit. I ran down the hallway and there was smoke everywhere. You could smell the jet fuel, it was unbearable

Joseph, Royster

I was on the street driving, and then the plane went over the top of my car, just over the treetops It was a big aircraft just on its course.” Cavalier Daily (Lexis-Nexis—Deirdre Erin Murphy and Kadie Bye)

Ryan, Darb

Vice Admiral


[in his office at the Navy Annex] Having learned that New York had been attacked, he was on the telephone recommending the evacuation of the Pentagon when out of the corner of my eye I saw the airplane” a split second before it struck. Aviation Week

Ryan, James

What made me look up was the sound. Because typically you would hear planes flying over and they make a steady sound like (mimics) when they’re coming to land It’s pretty steady. Well I heard (mimics) and so I looked up and when I looked up-

On your left?

On my left, right above me—a little over. I see an American airlines plane, silver plane, I could see AA on the tail. I noticed the landing gear was up I had just heard about what happened at the World Trade Center

How high he was?

Within a hundred feet. It was very low. At that point he tilted his wings this way and this way (mimics), And the plane was slow, so that happened concurrently with the engines going down. (mimics) And then straightened out sort of suddenly and hit full gas. (mimics) It was so loud it hurt my ears. It was just so loud. He just went straight in at that point.

And you saw it hit the pentagon?

No, at that point it went down because I was approaching a hill. And at that point it went straight down over the hill and a moment later I heard this terrific boom, a very deep boom sound. Then immediately I saw all the orange and yellow sort of ball of fire and then thick black smoke go up into the air.  The plane was low enough that I could see the windows of the plane.  I could see every detail of the plane. In my head I have ingrained forever this image of every detail of that plane.  It was a silver plane, American airlines plane, and I recognized it immediately as a passenger plane.

Digipresse interview (video)

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high bandwidth :

Sayer, John

Lt. Commander John Sayer, a Navy reservist, was riding on a bus when he heard a thud. It sounded like a very loud clap, he said. At first I thought an airplane had hit in front of the Pentagon, but when I got closer I saw that it had struck the Pentagon.

Schickler, Rob

Rob Schickler, a Baylor University 2001 graduate and Arlington, Va. resident, said. “A plane flew over my house,” (one mile away from the Pentagon). “It was loud, but not unusual because the [Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport] is by my house, on the other side of the Pentagon. Occasionally planes that miss the landing fly over my house. A few seconds later, there was this sonic boom, he said. The house shook, the windows were vibrating. There was a hole in the building, and you could smell it in the air. Its a beautiful day, but you can smell the burning concrete and burning jet fuel.

Scott, Don

Don Scott, a Prince William County school bus driver living in Woodbridge, was driving eastward past the Pentagon on his way to an appointment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center: “I had just passed the Pentagon and was near the Macy’s store in Crystal City when I noticed a plane making a sharp turn from north of the Pentagon. I had to look back at the road and then back to the plane as it sort of leveled off. I looked back at the road, and when I turned to look again, I felt and heard a terrible explosion. I looked back and saw flames shooting up and smoke starting to climb into the sky.” Washington Post, 9/16/01(Lexis Nexis)

Seibert, Tom

Tom Seibert: “We heard what sounded like a missile, then we heard a loud boom,” said Tom Seibert, 33, a network engineer at the Pentagon. We were sitting there and watching this thing from New York, and I said, you know, the next best target would be us. And five minutes later, boom.

Sepulveda, Noel

[Note: this testimony comes from April 14, 2002.  There are several anomalies in this testimony.]

Noel Sepulveda, a Master Sgt. received the awards during a special ceremony at the Pentagon April 15. He left Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., for a meeting at the Pentagon, only to be told it was cancelled. Walking back to his motorcycle he saw a commercial airliner coming from the direction of Henderson Hall the Marine Corps headquarters. It “flew above a nearby hotel and drop its landing gear. The plane’s right wheel struck a light pole, causing it to fly at a 45-degree angle, he said. The plane tried to recover, but hit a second light pole and continued flying at an angle. You could hear the engines being revved up even higher,” The plane dipped its nose and crashed into the southwest side of the Pentagon. “The right engine hit high, the left engine hit low. For a brief moment, you could see the body of the plane sticking out from the side of the building. Then a ball of fire came from behind it. An explosion followed, sending Sepulveda flying against a light pole. If the airliner had not hit the light poles, it would have slammed into the Pentagon’s 9th and 10th corridor ‘A’ ring, and the loss of life would have been greater.

Recognition of Master Sergeant Noel Sepulveda: () on September 11, 2001, Master Sergeant Noel Sepulveda was on assignment at the Pentagon as a Medic. He was standing in the parking lot at the Pentagon when he noticed a jetliner lower its landing gear as if to make a landing an then he realized that the airplane was actually heading towards the southwest wall of the Pentagon; and he was standing only 150 feet from the point of impact and for a brief moment he could see the body of the plane sticking out from the side of the building, followed by an explosion; and the blast of the impact was so tremendous, that from his vantage point, it threw him backward over 100 feet slamming into a light pole causing him internal injuries; and despite his internal injuries, Master Sergeant Noel Sepulveda remained on his duty station at the Pentagon for seven days after this attack while manning a triage station to assist the other victims of the attack

Shaeffer, Kevin

Lieutenant Kevin Shaeffer, U.S. Navy (Retired): At exactly 0943, the entire command center exploded in a gigantic orange fireball, and I felt myself being slammed to the deck by a massive and thunderous shock wave. It felt to me as if the blast started at the outer wall, blowing me forward toward Commander Dunn’s desk. I never lost consciousness, and though the entire space was pitch black, I sensed I was on fire. While still lying on the deck, I ran my fingers through my hair and over my face to extinguish flames. Simultaneously, I tried to roll my body in order to smother the fire I felt burning my back and arms. As I stood to get my wits about me, I could make out just barely, through thick, acrid smoke, the carnage of what had been just moments before a space full of my shipmates. I could not see much, but I could tell the ceiling had collapsed and everything around me was blown to bits. I felt as if I was crawling over rubble several feet high. Soon I came upon frayed electrical cables dangling from the caved-in ceiling, in front of broken pipes gushing water.


Kevin Shaeffer was sprawled by the shock wave, then watched from the floor as a roiling, bright orange ball of fire shot toward him and everything—cubicles, desks, ceiling tiles, the building’s concrete support columns—everything blew to pieces. Flames bathed his skin, his eyes, his lungs. The room went dark. Shaeffer, dazed, prone on the carpet, realized his back and head were on fire. He rolled to put himself out, then staggered to his feet. He ran a hand through his hair. His scalp felt wet.

Sheuerman, Philip

Philip Sheuerman, exiting the freeway, turning into the parking lot, of the Pentagon. saw “a passenger plane

Sinclair, Wayne [William?]

Wayne Sinclair heard it before he felt it. [Note: unclear whether this is the plane or the explosion.] He outfitted computers for the Army on the first floor of the D Ring. As usual that morning, Sinclair, 54, caught the subway so he could be at work by 6, always the first of the seven employees to arrive in Room 1D520. () they heard a thunderous roar. Everything turned black. Smoke and fire engulfed the room. Walls crumbled. Desks, file cabinets, and computers hurtled through the air. You couldn’t see anything, he says. Some people were thrown to the floor. Sinclair could feel his face, ears, and arms burning. But he couldn’t see them because the smoke was so thick. People screamed for help. Chaos reigned.


Sinclair, 54, was sitting at his desk on the first floor of the Pentagon that morning when he felt a giant gush of air, then everything went dark.

Singleton, Jack

Where the plane came in was really at the construction entrance,” says Jack Singleton, president of Singleton Electric Co. Inc., Gaithersburg MD, the Wedge One electrical subcontractor. “The planes left wing actually came in near the ground and the right wing was tilted up in the air. That right wing went directly over our trailer, so if that wing had not tilted up, it would have hit the trailer. My foreman, Mickey Bell, had just walked out of the trailer and was walking toward the construction entrance.


Skarlet, webmaster of As I came up along the Pentagon I saw helicopters. () it was headed straight for the building. It made no sense. (…) A huge jet. Then it was gone. A massive hole in the side of the Pentagon gushed smoke. The noise was beyond description. The smell seemed to singe the inside of my nose. The earth seemed to stop shaking for a second, but then sirens began and the ground seemed to shake again—this time from the incoming barrage of firetrucks, police cars. military vehicles. () I called my boss. I had no memory of how to work my cellphone. I hit redial and his number came up. Something hit the pentagon. It must have been a helicopter. I knew that wasn’t true, but I heard myself say it. I heard myself believe it, if only for a minute. Buildings don’t eat planes. That plane, it just vanished. There should have been parts on the ground. It should have rained parts on my car. The airplane didn’t crash. Where are the parts?” that’s the conversation I had with myself on the way to work. It made sense this morning. I swear that it did. (.) I finally cleared my head enough to drive and spent hours getting home. I spent an eternity in my car. I couldn’t roll up the windows, the car smelled like the Inferno. Concrete dust coats the outside of the car, turning it a weird color. Eventually I got back here, back to the place I should have stayed in the first place. There seems to be no footage of the crash, only the site. The gash in the building looks so small on TV. The massiveness of the structure lost in the tight shots of the fire. There was a plane. It didn’t go over the building. It went into the building. I want them to find it whole, wedged between floors or something. I know that Isn’t going to happen, but right now I pretend. I want to see footage of the crash. I want to make it make sense. I want to know why There’s this gap in my memory, this gap that makes it seem as though the plane simply became invisible and banked up at the very last minute, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t want to see footage of the crash. It seems so unhealthy to see the planes in NY crash over and over. To see the building fall again and again. I saw it once, the Pentagon is shambles. I don’t know that I want to see the crash ever again. Even the pictures of the blaze are too much right now as the firefighters try to contain it. It’s weird to watch it on TV while the same smoke drifts by your windows.  I’ve showered and showered. Ultimately, I think I’m going to throw away my clothes. I don’t think the smell will ever come out. I’ve reached my parents. My brother is already on a Classified assignment. Who the hell knows where he is. I’m assuming he’s safe. I have no idea. Posted by skarlet at September 11, 2001 08:41 PM

Slater, Mike

Mike Slater, a former Marine: Then the Pentagon, built to withstand terrorist attacks, shook like a rickety roller coaster. A section of it collapsed and burned. It sounded like a roar,” said Mr. Slater, who was 500 yards away from where the jet slammed into the Pentagon’s west side. I knew it was a bomb or something. Within the last year, the Pentagon had put up shatter-reducing Mylar sheeting to reduce the impact of a potential terrorist bomb. ()As soon as Mr. Slater stepped outside, he saw and smelled something uncomfortably familiar. I saw a mass of oily smoke and thought of the oil fields of Kuwait, he said. There were 3,000 Americans killed in Pearl Harbor, this will be at least that many, if not more, and I hope Congress has the guts to do something about it.

Mike Slater, a former Marine, was inside the Pentagon, 500 yards from the jets impact. It was like a bomb, he said. I saw a mass of oily smoke and thought of the oil fields of Kuwait.

Smiley, Elizabeth

[walking home from work at the FAA building, decided to walk the one mile home from her metro stop at the Pentagon] I saw the plane not more than 200 feet over my head.” Mid-Valley Online (Oregon)

Smith, Dennis

[in the Pentagon’s center courtyard] Dennis Smith, a building inspector and former Marine, was smoking a cigarette in the center courtyard when he heard the roar of engines and looked up in time to see the tail of a plane seconds before it exploded into the building. Government Executive Magazine

Smith, Stephanie

At the Pentagon, Marine Maj. Stephanie Smith helped one victim, who was suffering from smoke inhalation and a leg injury.  The injured were covered with smoke and their uniforms were covered with smoke, Smith said. People were bloodied and soaked with water from the sprinkler system, she said. You felt it more than you heard it, she said of the blast.


Steve' (, who was about half a mile away, posted in a Google groups message:
I saw the jet just before it crashed. Something big and silver, nose down going aimed like a dart straight into it. The fireball was huge, 10 stories high and our building shook hard. Everyone in our two towers ran to the fire escapes. Most not knowing what exactly was happening. I had more fear because I saw what happened.”


Snaman, Steve

We saw the plane hit the pentagon.” National Electric Contractors Association website

Snavel, Dewey

SGT Dewey Snavely was driving along Arlington’s Quaker Lane when the radio blasted the morning’s first harrowing reports, then warned that a third plane was heading his way. Minutes later, jet engines rumbled overhead. The guy I was with looked up and said: ‘What the hell is that plane doing?’ Then we heard an explosion and the truck rocked back and forth. Snavely, a member of the Engr. Co. on transition leave, knew deep in his gut that the Pentagon was under attack.

Snow, Kate

CNN congressional correspondent

9/11/01 [C] I did see, myself a plane, about half hour ago, circling over the Capitol, now whether that may have been CNN Live (Audio)

Snyder, Robert

Over in his office at 1D-525 on the first floor of D Ring, Robert Snyder, an Army lieutenant colonel, had been surfing the Web to check on the World Trade Center horror. He heard a crack and boom, and then, instantly, he saw flame and felt engulfed. The lights went out and his digital watch stopped. It read 00:00:00. He hit the floor, having been taught in military training that staying low was the best way to avoid smoke. The only light came from a series of small fires burning around the room.

People kept their cool, people started working with each other to get out, said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Snyder, who was in the basement level of the Pentagon building when one of the explosions hit.

Stanley, G. T.

[on Route 27 getting off the Columbia Pike] That plane was screaming. The engines were so loudI followed the plane down with my eyes. I saw it hit the building.” The Washington Post (Lexis-Nexis—Avis Thomas-Lester)

St Clair, Stanley

Stanley St Clair was stumbling along the road away from the vast building, covered in dust. He had been working on renovations on the first floor of the section which was struck by the plane. It shook the whole building and hurt our ears. Papers and furniture and debris just went flying through the hallway and I thought it was a bomb or something. Then someone started shouting get out, get out.,1300,550486,00.html

Stancil, Michael

Michael Stancil said he was watching CNN coverage of the World Trade Center attacks in the Pentagon basement when he heard a vibrating sound like a motor. Suddenly, a big gust of air blasted through the room, paper started to fly and smoke began to pour in.

Stephens, Levi

[driving away from the Pentagon in the South Pentagon lot] I was driving away from the Pentagon in the South Pentagon lot when I hear this huge rumble, the ground started shaking I saw this [plane] come flying over the Navy Annex. It flew over the van and I looked back and I saw this huge explosion, black smoke everywhere. Stars and Stripes

Storti, Steve

[on the balcony of his apartment building which is less than a mile away from the Pentagon in Crystal City] Then he caught the glint of silver out of the corner of his eye. He looked up to see a passenger plane with the trademark stainless-steel fuselage and stripes of American airlines. It was way off the normal flight pattern for Reagan National, said Storti, who had been living in the Crystal City section of Arlington for about two years. The plane was also alarmingly low, passing behind nearby apartment buildings that were only several stories high Time seemed to slip into slow motion as he watched the plane cross over Route 395, tip its left wing as it passed the Navy annex, veer sharply and then slice into the Pentagon. I remember thinking that whoever is flying this knows what they’re doing, Storti said. The plane traveled straight as an arrow. It didn’t waver and it didn’t flip from side to side. Storti watched the plane slide silently into the Pentagon “like a car entering a garage.”

The Providence Journal

Sucherman, Joel Multimedia Editor, saw it all: an American airlines jetliner fly left to right across his field of vision as he commuted to work Tuesday morning. It was highly unusual. The large plane was 20 feet off the ground and a mere 50 to 75 yards from his windshield. Two seconds later and before he could see if the landing gear was down or any of the horror—struck faces inside, the plane slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon 100 yards away. My first thought was he’s not going to make it across the river to National Airport. But whoever was flying the plane made no attempt to change direction. It was coming in at a high rate of speed, but not at a steep angle—almost like a heat-seeking missile was locked onto its target and staying dead on course I didn’t feel anything coming out of the Pentagon [in terms of debris], he said. A couple of minutes later, police cars and fire trucks headed to the scene. Ironically, the passage of emergency vehicles got traffic moving again, which was now crunching over twisted metal Sucherman guessed was the skin of the plane.,3959,9306,00.asp


it came screaming across the highway, route 110—Was it a commercial jet? Do you know how many engines?—I did not see the engines, I saw the body and the tail; it was a silver jet with the markings along the windows that spoke to me as an American airlines jet, it was not a commercial, excuse me, a business jet, it was not a lear jet, it was a bigger plane than that. (Video)


I heard a sonic boom and then the impact, the explosion. There were light poles down. There was what appeared to be the outside covering of the jet strewn about. Within about two minutes there were fire trucks on the scene. Within a minute another plane started veering up and to the side.  At that point it wasn’t clear if that plane was trying to maneuver out of the air space or if that plane was coming round for another hit. (Audio)


Well while listening to the radio reports of the World Trade Center problem, there was a sonic boom, and looking straight ahead there was a jet, what looked to be an American airlines jet, probably a 757, and it came screaming across the highway. It was Route 110 on the west side of the Pentagon. The plane went west to east, hit the west side of the Pentagon. Immediately flames were searing up into the air. There was white smoke, and then within seconds, thick black smoke. Then there was another plane, that was off to the southwest, and that made a beeline straight up into the sky and then angled off and we weren’t sure if that was going to come around and make another hit or if it was just trying to get out of the way. That disappeared and we didn’t see it again. USA TODAY interview

Sutherland, Jim

Jim Sutherland, a mortgage broker, was on his way to the Pentagon when he saw a white 737 twin-engine plane with multicolored trim fly 50 feet over I-395 in a straight line, striking the side of the Pentagon.


Jim Sutherland, a mortgage broker, was driving near the Pentagon at 9:40 a.m. when he saw a 737 airplane 50 feet over Interstate 395 heading in a straight line into the side of the Pentagon. The fireball explosion that followed rocked his car. Drivers began pulling over to the side—some taking pictures—not quite believing what they were seeing.”

Susteren, Greta van

[on the roof of a parking structure at National Airport] We saw a plane near the Pentagon and then heard this boom Irish Times (Lexis-Nexis)

Stephens, Levi

Levi Stephens 23, courier Armed Forces Information Service—According to one witness, what looked like a 747” plowed into the south side of the Pentagon, possibly skipping through a heliport before it hit the building. Personnel working in the Navy Annex, over which the airliner flew, said they heard the distinct whine of jet engines as the airliner approached. “I was driving away from the Pentagon in the South Pentagon lot when I hear this huge rumble, the ground started shakingI saw this [plane] come flying over the Navy Annex. It flew over the van and I looked back and I saw this huge explosion, black smoke everywhere.

Tamillow, Michael

FBI evidence teams combing the area of impact along the building’s perimeter found parts of the fuselage from the Boeing 757, said Michael Tamillow, a battalion chief and search and rescue expert for the Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire department. No large pieces apparently survived.

Taylor, Shari

I work in a different location, not in the Pentagon. I got there around 8 o’clock, my normal time, came in and checked my email and noticed here was an email asking me to come over to the Pentagon as soon as possible. So I got in my car, rushed over there, found a parking space, and as soon as I got out of my car, I looked over my shoulder and you can hear the plane coming in, it was just so loud. Normally you don’t see planes on that side of the Pentagon, and that was my first thought. I thought, ‘What is he doing on that side of the Pentagon, It’s so strange.’ And then you could just see him descend and just keep descending lower and lower, until he was almost on top of Route 27 that runs alongside the Pentagon. And then he just slammed into the Pentagon, you just knew he was going to hit the pentagon, I mean there was no way he could not have hit it.”

We Were on Duty documentary (audio)

Also see WWOD website

Terronez, Tony

Around 9:40 a.m. I reached the heliport area (beside the Pentagon). So I got about 100 yards or so past the heliport and then all of the sudden I heard this loud screeching sound that just came out of nowhere and it intensified. This huge WHOOSH! And something made me look in my rearview mirror and by the time I looked up I saw the side of the Pentagon explode. I was stunned. It was just so surreal, like something out of a movie, like Die Hard. The side of a building just exploded! As the fireball got higher and higher, you saw this debris go up in the air. I am watching this in my rearview mirror, and then I thought, Oh my God, there is debris coming toward me! So my reaction was, I ducked into my passenger seat and I heard the pitter-patter of pebbles and concrete bouncing off my car. And the next thing you know, I heard this big crash come from somewhere. It sounded like glass being shattered and I thought maybe, at first, it was one of my windows so I popped up to look but everything was fine. But when I looked to the car next to me I realized that something went through (the drivers) rear windshield and shattered it. There was a hole where you could see that something went through it. I put the car in park—it is amazing how instinct takes over because I will never know how it is I kept my foot on the brake when I ducked at the same time. I should have rammed right into the guy in front of me. I got out of the car and the guy in front of me, he and I just looked at each other. It seemed like everybody who was on the road got out of their cars and just looked in disbelief as the fireball just kept getting bigger and bigger. My jaw was dropped, his jaw was dropped, and then, at that point, something about trying to make sure people were OK overtook me and I started going around to the people in the other cars to see if they were all right.  I and the guy in front of me went to the car next to me and asked the driver if he was all right and if he was OK to drive. He was in shock, you could tell. He just kept looking straight ahead. He didn’t even look back, he was so fixated on looking north. He didn’t want to look south at the Pentagon. And it took a couple of times for me and the other guy to say, Can you drive? Hello? Are you OK? Are you OK? And he said, Yeah, I think I can drive. We asked him again, Can you drive? and that time he was more sure and said, Yes, yes, I can drive. Then both I and the guy in front of me looked at his rear windshield and saw what was about a four-inch hole in it and the rest of the window was shattered as if someone took a baseball bat to it. At that point I realized—you see at that point I didn’t know it was a plane, I thought it was a missile strike—how dangerous things were. And I just started yelling, We gotta get out of here, to the guy in front of me—and he agreed—and we started yelling at people, Get back in your cars! We gotta get the f—- out of here! And I just kept repeating, Get in your cars! Let’s go, Let’s go! Get the f—- out of here. Go! Go! Go! And people must have listened because down the road you heard more people telling everyone to get in their cars and go. Cars were going over the median on Route 27 because there wasn’t any traffic coming southbound toward the Pentagon. People were hopping over it any way they could, on the grass, anything. It was a little scary at that point. Pulling away from the Pentagon there was tons of stuff on the ground, big pieces of metal, concrete, everything. We got up to a certain point and there was this huge piece of something—I mean it was big, it looked like a piece of an engine or something—in the road. And there was somebody, definitely a security guard or maybe a military person, with his car in front of it making sure no one touched it. () I looked back and I saw the fire, it was just huge and just incredible. I still cannot believe it. At that point in time, I remembered I had a camera in my trunk. I got off an off-ramp beside the Pentagon and parked my car in the grass and started taking pictures. The whole time I was taking pictures it was so detailed. I could [see] this huge piece of a wheel on fire through the black smoke, but I could not see into the Pentagon itself.

Theall, David

Carl Mahnken and his colleague in the Army public relations office, David Theall, had been in a first-floor studio only a few dozen feet from where the plane hit. A computer monitor had blown back and hit Theall in the head, but he was conscious and he led the way out for his buddy. They were walking over electrical wires, ceiling panels. They could see no more than five feet in any direction. After the initial whoosh and blast, it had seemed eerily silent until they reached the D Ring hallway, where they heard other people, crying, moaning, talking. () Theall said to Mahnken, Buddy, I ain’t going to let you go. We had survived this. This force that drove us through walls.

Thompson, Carla

I glanced up just at the point where the plane was going into the building,” said Carla Thompson, who works in an Arlington, Va., office building about 1,000 yards from the crash. I saw an indentation in the building and then it was just blown-up up—red, everything red,” she said. Everybody was just starting to go crazy. I was petrified.

Thompson, Phillip

There is no doubt in my mind that last week’s attack on America was an act of war. I fought in the Gulf War. I saw bombs and missiles explode overhead. I saw people die. And when, on my way to work Sept. 11, I saw an American airlines jet come overhead and slam into the Pentagon, it all came back. Hard. I was sitting in heavy traffic in the I-395 HOV lanes about 9:45 a.m., directly across from the Navy Annex. I could see the roof of the Pentagon and, in the distance, the Washington Monument. I heard the scream of a jet engine and, turning to look, saw my driver’s side window filled with the fuselage of the doomed airliner. It was flying only a couple of hundred feet off the ground—I could see the passenger windows glide by. The plane looked as if it were coming in for a landing—cruising at a shallow angle, wings level, very steady. But, strangely, the landing gear was up and the flaps weren’t down.  I knew what was about to happen, but my brain couldn’t quite process the information. Like the other commuters on the road, I was stunned into disbelief. The fireball that erupted upon impact blossomed skyward, and the blast hit us in a wave. I don’t remember hearing a sound. It was so eerily similar to another experience during the Gulf War—a missile strike that killed a Marine in my unit—that when I jumped out of my SUV, I felt like I’d jumped into my past and was in combat once again. The feeling was the same, but the context was all wrong. () What if dash two was inbound to the Pentagon? Then a gray C-130 flew overhead, setting off a new round of panic. I tried to reassure people that the plane was not a threat. All around me people began to panic, fleeing for their lives. Afraid of being trapped, I drove through a gap in the median barrier and drove across 395 to an exit ramp.

Thurman, John

Major John Thurman reflects on the friends and colleagues he lost. He was prepared for the dangers of war, he says. But this was so unexpected. () Thurman also was blown backward. () But it was a plane passing beneath him, smashing through pylons and shaking the building’s 60-year-old structure. I saw flames coming over the walls, and then retreat back. And immediately the room was filled with smoke and the like, Thurman said. () Thurman was trying to orient himself in a darkened room. His once familiar office was a jumble of toppled wall lockers and upended furniture. Two officemates, a man and a woman, were alive. The three crawled face down through the wreckage, looking for a way out but finding only fire and blind alleys. One officemate passed out, then the other. An overpowering desire to sleep overcame Thurman. Suddenly it hit me that I was going to die. I thought, Oh my god, my parents are going to have their first grandchild and same day they are going to lose their first son, their first child, he said. And I got really mad. The burst of adrenalin gave Thurman just enough strength to push his way to safety before his soot-coated lungs gave out.

Ticknor, Henry

Henry Ticknor, intern minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia, was driving to church that Tuesday morning when American airlines Flight 77 came in fast and low over his car and struck the Pentagon. There was a puff of white smoke and then a huge billowing black cloud, he said.

Timmerman, Tim

[watching from  the 16th floor of a corner apartment overlooking the Pentagon]


A pilot who saw the impact, Tim Timmerman, said it had been an American Airways 757. It added power on its way in,” he said. “The nose hit, and the wings came forward and it went up in a fireball.” Smoke and flames poured out of a large hole punched into the side of the Pentagon. Emergency crews rushed fire engines to the scene and ambulance men ran towards the flames holding wooden pallets to carry bodies out. A few of the lightly injured, bleeding and covered in dust, were recovering on the lawn outside, some in civilian clothes, some in uniform. A piece of twisted aircraft fuselage lay nearby. No one knew how many people had been killed, but rescue workers were finding it nearly impossible to get to people trapped inside, beaten back by the flames and falling debris.,1300,550486,00.html

FRANKEN: You are a pilot. Tell us what you saw.

TIMMERMAN: I was looking out the window; I live on the 16th floor, overlooking the Pentagon, in a corner apartment, so I have quite a panorama. And being next to National Airport, I hear jets all the time, but this jet engine was way too loud. I looked out to the southwest, and it came right down 395, right over Colombia Pike, and as is went by the Sheraton Hotel, the pilot added power to the engines. I heard it pull up a little bit more, and then I lost it behind a building.

And then it came out, and I saw it hit right in front of—it didn’t appear to crash into the building; most of the energy was dissipated in hitting the ground, but I saw the nose break up, I saw the wings fly forward, and then the conflagration engulfed everything in flames. It was horrible.

FRANKEN: What can you tell us about the plane itself?

TIMMERMAN: It was a Boeing 757, American airlines, no question.

FRANKEN: You say that it was a Boeing, and you say it was a 757 or 767?


FRANKEN: 757, which, of course

TIMMERMAN: American airlines.

FRANKEN: American airlines, one of the new generation of jets.

TIMMERMAN: Right. It was so close to me it was like looking out my window and looking at a helicopter. It was just right there.

CNN News


(We were told that it was flying so low that it clipped off a couple of light poles as it was coming in) That might have happened behind the apartments that occluded my view. And when it reappeared, it was right before impact, and like I said, it was right before impact, and I saw the airplane just disintegrate and blow up into a huge ball of flames. And the building shook, and it was quite a tremendous explosion. I noticed the fire trucks and the responses was just wonderful. Fire trucks were there quickly. I saw the area; the building didn’t look very damaged initially, but I do see now, looking out my window, There’s quite a chunk in it. But I think the blessing here might have been that the airplane hit before it hit the building, it hit the ground, and a lot of energy might have gone that way. that’s what it appeared like.

Tinyk, Michael

[at work on the 10th floor of the U.S. Trademark Office in Crystal City] he saw a dark orange and blue commercial airliner just above the tree line coming in lower and lower on what he instantly registered as the wrong side of the flight path to the airport. There was no reason for a plane to come in that low, that fast The plane took “a flight path straight up 395,” The Providence Journal-Bulletin (Lexis-Nexis)

Trapasso, Thomas J.

On the deck of his house about 1 mile away from the Pentagon and just west of I-395 The engines were just screaming, and the wheels were up, Trapasso said. It disappeared over the trees, and I heard a boom. I knew something awful had happened—that an airplane had crashed somewhere in Washington, D.C.” Aviation Week


“There were no wheels down. It was screaming loud and going very fast. UCLA website

Turner, Ron

Ron Turner, the Navy’s deputy chief information officer, was standing solemnly at a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery when American airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon Tuesday morning. He had only to turn to watch the disaster unfold. There was a huge fireball, he said, followed by the [usual] black cloud of a fuel burn. Turner, a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, said the explosion was just the same as explosions of jet fighters and helicopters during his tour of duty in 1971. It reminded me of being back in Vietnam, he said, watching Tan Son Nhut Air Base burn.

Vaughn, Clyde A.

Army Brig. Gen.

[in his car on I-395] Brig. Gen. Clyde Vaughn of the U.S. Army, director of military support, told reporters he was in his car on nearby Interstate 395 when the plane hit the pentagon on Tuesday morning. Vaughn said “I was scanning the air” as he was sitting in his car. “There wasn’t anything in the air, except for one airplane, and it looked like it was loitering over Georgetown, in a high, left-hand bank, he said. “That may have been the plane. I have never seen one on that (flight) pattern.” Georgetown is a sector of the District of Columbia jammed with shops and restaurants—it is one of the city’s most vital tourist draws. Commercial aircraft that are either approaching or departing from nearby Ronald Reagan National Airport do not fly over Georgetown, and rather trace their flight route over the nearby Potomac River, which separates the district from South Arlington, Virginia, location of the Pentagon. A few minutes later, Vaughn witnessed the craft’s impact. CNN News

Velasquez. Jose

It wasn’t like a rumble, it was just—boom, said Tom Van Leunen of the Navy Public Affairs Office. It was shocking It immediately put you on your heels, in fact in my case, actually, it kind of knocked me down.


Jose Velasquez : It was like an earthquake , By the time I got outside all I could see was a giant cloud of smoke, first white then black, coming from the Pentagon, he said.  Velasquez says the gas station’s security cameras are close enough to the Pentagon to have recorded the moment of impact. I’ve never seen what the pictures looked like, he said. The FBI was here within minutes and took the film.

Wallace, Alan

Alan Wallace usually worked out of the Fort Myer fire station, but on Sept. 11 he was one of three firefighters assigned to the Pentagon’s heliport. Along with crew members Mark Skipper and Dennis Young, Wallace arrived around 7:30 in the morning. After a quick breakfast, the 55-year-old firefighter moved the station’s fire truck out of the firehouse.  [note: Odd Fact]  President Bush had used the heliport the day before: he’d motorcaded to the Pentagon, then flown to Andrews Air Force Base for a trip to Florida. Bush was scheduled to return to the Pentagon helipad later on Tuesday [that would be 9/11], Wallace says. So Wallace wanted the fire truck out of the station before Secret Service vehicles arrived and blocked its way. He parked it perpendicular to the west wall of the Pentagon. Wallace and Skipper were walking along the right side of the truck (Young was in the station) when the two looked up and saw an airplane. It was about 25 feet off the ground and just 200 yards away-the length of two football fields. They had heard about the WTC disaster and had little doubt what was coming next. Let’s go, Wallace yelled. Both men ran. Wallace ran back toward the west side of the station, toward a nine-passenger Ford van. My plans were to run until I caught on fire, he says. He didn’t know how long he’d have or whether he could outrun the oncoming plane. Skipper ran north into an open field. Wallace hadn’t gotten far when the plane hit. “I hadn’t even reached the back of the van when I felt the fireball. I felt the blast, he says. He hit the blacktop near the left rear tire of the van and quickly shimmied underneath. I remember feeling pressure, a lot of heat, he says. He crawled toward the front of the van, then emerged to see Skipper out in the field, still standing. Everything is on fire. The grass is on fire. The building is on fire. The firehouse is on fire, Wallace recalls. There was fire everywhere. Areas of the blacktop were on fire. Wallace ran over to Skipper, who said he was OK, too. They compared injuries-burned arms, minor cuts, scraped skin. He ran back into the station to try to suit up. But he found debris everywhere. The ceiling had crumbled, there were broken lights and drywall everywhere. His boots were on fire. His fire pants filled with debris. The fire alarm was blaring.  Then Wallace heard someone call from outside. We need help over here, someone yelled. He ran back outside over to the Pentagon building and helped lower people out of a first-floor window, still some six feet off the ground. He helped 10 to 15 people to safety. Most could walk, though he helped carry one badly burned man. He wasn’t too responsive, Wallace recalls. He helped two other men drag him to the other side of the heliport then he turned around. I’ve got to go back, he said. Working with a civilian, Wallace headed back to the building. He could hear more cries for help from inside. There was trash and debris everywhere. The trees were on fire. Wallace headed into the building through an open door, but couldn’t find anyone else to save. After a while I didn’t hear anybody calling anymore, he says. They probably found another way out.


Firefighter Alan Wallace was standing outside his fire station when he looked across the nearby interstate and saw a white airplane with orange and blue trim heading almost straight at him. It slammed into the building just a couple hundred feet from him. When I felt the fire, I hit the ground, he said. Scripps Howard News Service

I just happened to look up and see the plane,” said Wallace. “It was about 200 yards away, and was coming in low and fast. I told Mark that we needed to get the hell out of there. Across the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters)


Wallace switched on the truck’s radio. Foam 61 to Fort Myer, he said. We have had a commercial carrier crash into the west side of the Pentagon at the heliport, Washington Boulevard side. The crew is OK. The airplane was a 757 Boeing or a 320 Airbus.” Birmingham Post Herald (link broken)


About 9:40, Alan Wallace had finished fixing the foam metering valve on the back of his fire truck parked in the Pentagon fire station and walked to the front of the station. He looked up and saw a jetliner coming straight at him. It was about 25 feet off the ground, no landing wheels visible, a few hundred yards away and closing fast. Runnnnn! he yelled to a pal. There was no time to look back, barely time to scramble. He made it about 30 feet, heard a terrible roar, felt the heat, and dove underneath a van, skinning his stomach as he slid along the blacktop, sailing under it as though he were riding a luge. The van protected him against burning metal that was flying around. A few seconds later he was sliding back out to check on his friend and then race back to the firetruck. He jumped in, threw it into gear, but the accelerator was dead. The entire back of the truck was destroyed, the cab on fire. He grabbed the radio headset and called the main station at Fort Myer to report the unimaginable. The sun was still low in the sky, obscured by the Pentagon and the enormous billowing clouds of acrid smoke, making it hauntingly dark. The ground was on fire. Trees were on fire. Hot slices of aluminum were everywhere. Wallace could hear voices crying for help and moved toward them. People were coming out a window head first, landing on him. He had faced incoming fire before—he was with the hospital corps in Vietnam when mortars and rocket shells dropped on the operating room near Da Nang—but he had never witnessed anything of this devastating intensity.


The morning of Sept. 11 was crystal clear in Washington, still summer warm. It would be easy to relax on a morning like that, but outside the Pentagon, firefighter Alan Wallace and the safety crew at the Pentagon’s heliport pad already were too busy. President Bush was scheduled to fly from Florida that afternoon, and his helicopter, Marine One, would carry him to the Pentagon. Secret Service was everywhere and their cars blocked the driveway. So the meticulous Wallace moved the fire truck out of the way, parking it about 15 feet from the Pentagon. thats when Wallace got a call from his chief at nearby Fort Myer telling him of the attacks in New York and to be on alert. Minutes later, Wallace and his buddy Mark Skipper looked up and saw the gleam of a silver jetliner. But it was flying too low. Maybe less than 25 feet off the ground. And it was heading right at them. I yelled to Mark, Let’s go! He bolted to the right, and a second later felt the searing heat of the blast behind him. He hit the ground and rolled under a parked van as a fire engulfed his fire truck, then blew through the firehouse. Wallace got back to his feet, saw Skipper had escaped, then rushed to the scorched fire truck to see if it would run, but the truck only belched fire. It wouldn’t move. So Wallace switched on the truck’s radio. Foam 61 to Fort Myer, he said. We have had a commercial carrier crash into the west side of the Pentagon at the heliport, Washington Boulevard side. The crew is OK. The airplane was a 757 Boeing or a 320 Airbus.” Although he was still frantic and shaken, Wallace’s report turned out to be painfully accurate. () With bits of cloth and fiberglass still raining down outside the blackened section of the Pentagon, Alan Wallace’s instincts focused on trying to help somehow. The truck was useless. So he dashed for his gear inside the torched firehouse. His boots were filled with debris. His suspenders were on fire. Wallace and two other firefighters rushed to a window, where Pentagon employees were crammed together, frantic to escape the darkness. Fire burst through the windows above them. The ground burned near Wallace with heat so hot he thought several times that his pants were on fire. They began grabbing arms and pulling people out—15 in all. They were all burned, Wallace said. But there wasn’t time for Wallace and the other firefighters to get emotional. We just seemed to stay in one mode there until we ran out of people coming out, Wallace said. And no one was sure how many more remained inside.


[reporter:] …The witnesses… are frankly—shell-shocked…  Alan Wallace looked up… he saw the plane about 50 feet away [and] screamed for his partner to run…”  [Alan Wallace:] We both started running.  I ran directly north and he ran out into the field a little bit.  There was a flash and a horrific crunch.  There was a fireball.  When I felt the fire, that’s when I dove on the ground and slid underneath the van and crawled underneath, [went] out the other side, and shortly after that I could see that Mark was ok.  There was debris falling down everywhere.  At that point we began to try and take charge of what was going on, and do what we could to do to help anybody else.  Reporter: Wallace told me that his fire truck was destroyed so that they essentially had to use their hands to help people from that point on.  The van that he was talking about was a van in the parking lot that he just spotted… to get under—and that he believes saved his life… He was taken to the hospital [after helping rescue survivors]—his whole left arm… [had] second degree burns.

FOX News 4:23 PM


Wallace, Terry

Terry C. Wallace—Southern Arizona Seismic Observatory—I looked pretty hard—and to be honest I can’t find any CONCLUSIVELY above the noise. I calculated an expected magnitude assuming that the impact was on the wall, not vertical (like UA flight), and got a magnitude of .8 The noise at all the stations (closest is 60 km aways) is above this.

Walter, Mike

Washington, Mike Walter, USA Today, on the road when a jet slammed into the Pentagon: “I was sitting in the northbound on 27 and the traffic was, you know, typical rush-hour—it had ground to a standstill. I looked out my window and I saw this plane, this jet, an American airlines jet, coming. And I thought, This doesn’t add up, Its really low. And I saw it. I mean it was like a cruise missile with wings. It went right there and slammed right into the Pentagon. Huge explosion, great ball of fire, smoke started billowing out. And then it was chaos on the highway as people tried to either move around the traffic and go down, either forward or backward. “We had a lady in front of me, who was backing up and screaming, ‘Everybody go back, go back, they’ve hit the pentagon.’ “It was just sheer terror.”


“…I saw a big silver plane and those double A’s.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Lexis-Nexis)

it turned and came around in front of the vehicle and it clipped one of these light poles and slammed right into the Pentagon right there.” Now there are some people who say that it skipped and went into the Pentagon and it may have gone that way, but that’s not what I saw. What I saw was the jet went very low into the Pentagon and it went straight.” It seemed like it was a slow, graceful bank and then once it straightened out, that’s when it sped up. you could see chunks of the wreckage on the ground, pieces of the plane It literally disintegrated on impact. It hit, and as it went into the side of the building it sheared off the wings.”

… a cruise missile with wings? I said that as a metaphor. To me it was like a missile was fired at a building. It exploded as you’d imagine a missile to explode It was an American airlines jet. And I watched it go into the building. I saw the big ‘AA’ on the side…”

Digipresse interview


MIKE WALTER: I will never forget that day, trapped in traffic and then I rolled down the window and heard the sound of the jet overhead. I wasn’t surprised. I worked in the USA today building in Roslyn nearby and we were used to seeing a lot of choppers coming to the helipad at the Pentagon and a lot of commercial jets heading to Reagan which is nearby. But for some reason I looked up and saw the underbelly of the jet as it gracefully banked, then I watched in shock as the jet basically lined up the Pentagon in its sights and began to scream towards the mammoth structure. I watched as it continued to dip from the sky, diving towards the Pentagon. There are some trees that are adjacent to 27 the road I was stuck on, so the jet went out of sight momentarily. Then I picked it up as it struck very low into the Pentagon. The wings folded back and it was like watching someone slam an empty aluminum can into a wall. The jet folded up like an accordion. There was a huge fireball. There was the initial shock of what had just happened. All of the drivers seemed to be in a trance. Then suddenly it ended when a woman began to scream, They just hit the Pentagon, get back, get back. She backed her SUV back and forth until she was able to create a crease and then she sped out of the area on the emergency lane. That’s when all hell broke loose as people began trying to get out of the area any way they could, some went forward, and others turned their cars around and drove in the wrong direction. All in an effort to get out of the area.

As I got out of the car and made my way towards the Pentagon I saw pieces of wreckage on the ground. Your natural instinct is to reach down and pick up the pieces and look at them. But I decided against it, because I knew that the wreckage was evidence… I wanted to make sure that they knew I had witnessed the impact and could describe what happened There were lots of witnesses there that day but they had left the area after the attack…

I don’t really remember the questions that were asked that day, I don’t really even remember what my answers were. The day became a blur really. But I do remember using a metaphor to describe what happened. I indicated to Jamie that the jet had become a weapon that day. I said it was like a cruise missile with wings. I never imagined for a moment that a statement like that would come back to haunt me over and over again. A French author would come out with a book describing in detail the conspiracy theory and he would use that quote out of context to help promote his conclusions. I was very angry about all of this, and I remain angry about it today. I’m also upset that so many people lost their lives that day and while some people who have written about that tragic day have donated any and all proceeds to the victims of 9-11, he has capitalized on it to make an awful lot of money. His book went on to be a best seller in France The conclusion in the French book is absurd. I saw the jet; there is no doubt in my mind it was a jet that slammed into the Pentagon. As a result of his book I’ve been interviewed by both print and television reporters from France, and England. Recently on the anniversary of that terrible day I was once again interviewed for a documentary in Japan on this same issue.

I knew it was a big commercial airline. I saw the AA on the side so I knew it was an American airlines passenger jet. I was surprised at how graceful and slow the banking of the jet appeared to be, and how quickly it accelerated after it had lined up the Pentagon.

by my estimation it seemed as though it was about 8 or 9 car lengths in front of me. It was in the air coming down at a high rate of speed and a steep decline. [I saw] the aircraft from nose to tail

I just remember thinking that I have to remember all of this; I have to take it all in. I just remember most that it struck very low into the Pentagon. I also will never forget seeing that AA insignia. I was asked by the FBI agent if I could make out any of the people on board the plane. But that would be an impossibility. It went by so quick, but I am still haunted by what I saw, and the thoughts of what it must be like to be on that plane heading toward sudden death. I have to be honest I suffered from a lot of nightmares in the days and weeks that followed.

There were periods where it seemed like the pilot was trying to stabilize it, I believe that may have been when it hit one of the light poles… I am sure it must have hit one of the light poles right around the area where I was… I do feel like it struck something near the point of impact, because I kind of remember sparks or something and the jet kind of wobbling or whatever right before impact.

I just remember that it seemed like slow motion. Again the thing that seemed so remarkable to me was just how this gigantic jet just folded up like a little tin can. It was truly amazing.  I also remember the sound of the explosion, and the fireball, and then of course once I was out of my car and closer I heard the other explosions which we talked about yesterday. 

I didn’t see a significant amount of debris. I just remember two things about this. One was the piece of wreckage I described earlier and the instinct to pick it up. Then I remember at some point later in the morning seeing a guy holding a piece of wreckage next to his head with the Pentagon in the background smiling and having his picture taken. I can’t describe for you the rage I felt. I unleashed on the guy and told him that he had no business doing what he was doing and that this was evidence and he should have just left it where he found it. He then said oh well there’s a guy collecting the stuff right now, so he just walked it over to this guy

I’ve only been interviewed by people about this as I described earlier. In fact it seems like I do more interviews about the conspiracy now then I do the attack. It’s strange.

I know a lot of people have different theories about what happened that day. I don’t have any theories, I just have two eyes! I saw what I saw. It was an American airlines jet that slammed into the Pentagon that day. I have nothing to gain or lose by saying this. The truth is the truth, that’s what happened. The reason why I’ve consented to this interview is because I’ve learned a lot as a result of that day. I’m a guy who grew up reading books, newspapers, and magazines. I’m a guy who watches television and listens to the radio. Those are the mediums that I’m comfortable with and understand. I’ve written for radio, TV, newspapers and even contributed to two books. Having said that, I understand the power of the web, and did before 9-11. But it really hit home afterwards. So many websites have critiqued my words, and added meaning to statements I made by taking them out of context. Some how I’ve been trapped on the World Wide Web and my words have been used to promote this theory or that. I’ve been criticized and critiqued. I’m not sure what the theory will be on this website, in fact I don’t really care what it is. All I know is someone was kind enough to ask me to answer their questions instead of just jumping to conclusions, and for that I thank you. I know people tend to gravitate towards conspiracy theories, I can’t stop them. People will believe what they want to believe, but I know what I saw that day.

Washington, Rodney

Rodney Washington, a systems engineer for a Pentagon contractor, was stuck in stand-still traffic a few hundred yards from the Pentagon. “It was extremely loud, as you can imagine, a plane that size, it was deafening,” Washington said. The plane was flying low and rapidly descended, Washington said, knocking over light poles before hitting the ground on a helicopter pad just in front of the Pentagon and essentially bouncing into it. It “landed there and the momentum took it into the Pentagon,” Washington said. “There was a very, very brief delay and then it exploded.” Washington speculated that it could have been worse: “If it had kept altitude a little bit higher it probably would have landed in the middle of the Pentagon, in that court.” The Boston Globe

Wheelhouse, Keith

Her brother, [Keith Wheelhouse], of Virginia Beach, spotted the planes first. The second plane looked similar to a C- 130 transport plane, he said. He believes it flew directly above the American airlines jet, as if to prevent two planes from appearing on radar while at the same time guiding the jet toward the Pentagon.

Daily Press; Newport News; Sep 14, 2001; TERRY SCANLON


Wheelhouse and his sister, Pam Young from the Arlington National Cemetery, less than 1 mile away from the Pentagon:
They watched the jet approach and slam into the Pentagon. Both of them, as well as at least one other person at the funeral, insist that there was another plane flying near the hijacked jet…Wheelhouse said the second plane looked like it may have been a C- 130 transport plane, but the other three witnesses say they’re not sure what the plane looked like… Wheelhouse believes it flew directly above the American airlines jet, as if to prevent two planes from appearing on radar while at the same time guiding the jet toward the Pentagon. As Flight 77 descends toward the Pentagon, the second plane veers off west.”


[in a car on the highway next to the side of the Pentagon that was hit] Question: did you see the plane there?? or parts of it?

No, but I saw the plane hit the building on 9/11. It was a plane. It was big it was flying low, and it hit the Pentagon. I saw it from the front seat of my car on the highway that passes that side of the pentagon. There are parts all over the place, they are all smaller than a US nickel because of the force of the crash.

Google groups message

Winslow, Dave

[10th floor apartment of a 17-floor block in Pentagon City]

Dave Winslow: AP reporter Dave Winslow also saw the crash. He said, I saw the tail of a large airliner … It ploughed right into the Pentagon.”,1300,550486,00.html


I heard this enormous sound of turbulence… As I turned to my right, I saw a jumbo tail go by me along Route 395. It was like the rear end of the fuselage was riding on 395. I just saw the tail go whoosh right past me. In a split second, you heard this boom. A combination of a crack and a thud. It rattled my windows. I thought they were going to blow out. Then came an enormous fireball. The Washingtonian (Lexis-Nexis)

Wright, Don

[looking out 12th floor windows at 1600 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn, VA]

I watched this—it looked like a commuter plane, twin-engine, come down from the south real low proceed right on and crash right into the Pentagon. I watched it come in very low over the trees and it just dipped down and came down right over 395 right into the Pentagon.”

The Baltimore Sun website (audio)

Wyatt, Ian

Ian Wyatt glanced into the sky just as a commercial airplane roared by about 100 yards off the ground. I was so scared I thought it was coming after me and just ducked for cover, said Wyatt, a 1999 graduate of Mary Washington College who was walking to his federal job when terrorists struck at the heart of the nation’s defense yesterday morning. It was going so fast and it was so low, he said, standing on Army-Navy Drive. The only intelligent thought that came into my head was, ‘Oh my God, they hit the pentagon.’ I could then hear cars squealing all around and people were just stunned.” After the plane struck the west side of the famed five-sided building, thick black smoke billowed from a huge crater as fire raged within.

The Baltimore Sun website (audio)

All of a sudden I hear incredibly loud jet engines flying very low over the highway. I duck, I look up, it looks like a silver American airlines, twin-engine plane and then boom. I couldn't see from the bridges but then there was this plume of smoke coming up from the Pentagon…It was going so fast and it was so low. (The Free Lance-Star—video)

Yates, John

Security officer John Yates was picked up and hurled 30 feet. Sgt. Maj. Tony Rose, punched into a ceiling column, watched as the glass in the C Ring windows spidered into tiny cubes. The sound erupted a heartbeat later, a monstrous boom and crunch like a thousand file cabinets toppling at once. To demographer Betty Maxfield, the room seemed to freeze, intact, for a moment, then in slow motion the computers clicked off and the lights failed and a fireball rolled through the cubicle farm like a wave, with bulbous head and tapered tail, and as it passed, everything around it burst into flames. Cabinets overturned, partitions exploded, ceiling tiles burned and danced and fell with their metal frames. The air boiled. () John Yates came to his senses to find that his death was at hand. He could not breathe. He could not see. The room was ablaze around him. The metal furniture jumbled all about was hot enough to raise blisters. He heard screams. He wasn’t sure that some weren’t his. His glasses remained on his face. They were smeared with something—unburned jet fuel, which Yates mistook for blood. He carefully took them off, folded them, and slipped them into his shirt pocket, then stumbled toward the big room’s interior.

Yates, John

John Yates worked in 2E471, a warren of cubicles. At 50, he was an Army security manager who handed out keys and employee badges. () He had been sitting on a table watching TV. When he stood up, the Pentagon shuddered. A big ball of fire knocked him to the floor. Black smoke flooded the room. Searing heat scorched him. Upended file cabinets blocked him.

Yeingst, William

Just prior to the impact there were three firemen on the helipad at the Pentagon. The president was supposed to land at the helipad two hours after the impact, and so they had just pulled the foam truck out of the firehouse and were standing there when they looked up and saw the plane coming over the Navy Annex building. They turned and ran, and at the point of impact were partially shielded by their fire truck from the flying debris of shrapnel and flames. They were knocked to the ground by the concussion, were able to get up, go over to the fire truck, and initially they were able to get it started to call for help at Fort Myer. And then they had to put out parts of their uniform—their bunker gear was actually on fire, so the first thing they had to do was put out their own fire truck and their fire equipment and they tried to start the truck and move it, but they discovered that it wouldn’t move. They got out and looked, and the whole back of the fire truck had melted.
Audio :
Transcript :

Yonkers, Terry

The whole building shook with the impact, said Terry Yonkers, an Air Force civilian employee at work inside the Pentagon at the time of the attack. There was screaming and pandemonium, he said, but the evacuation ordered shortly afterward was carried out smoothly.

Zakhem, Madelyn

Madelyn Zakhem, executive secretary at the STC (VDOT Smart Traffic Center), had just stepped outside for a break and was seated on a bench when she heard what she thought was a jet fighter directly overhead. It wasn’t. It was an airliner coming straight up Columbia Pike at tree-top level. It was huge! It was silver. It was low—unbelievable! I could see the cockpit. I fell to the ground I was crying and scared.” If I had been on top of our building, I would have been close enough to reach up and catch it,


It’s a bomb. Get out, said a Pentagon spokesman as authorities ordered an evacuation of the building. In addition there have been explosions at the State Department and on Capitol Hill in Washington.


Other witnesses said the plane crash was followed by an explosion about 15 minutes later that could be heard miles away—apparently the sound of a large portion of the Pentagon collapsing.


The large aircraft struck the outermost corridor (E-ring) of the five-ring building at ground level (the second floor) at 9:43 a.m. EDT and continued smashing its way through the D and C rings. Navy survivors on the B-ring looked out their interior windows and saw flames and falling debris. () Blast damage was also limited by new Kevlar panels, but they didn’t protect those nearby from fires from exploding fuel tanks, estimated to have produced the equivalent of 200-400 tons of TNT. Fuel triggered an intense fire that caused the roof of the damaged E-ring section to give way at 10:10 a.m. It was still burning 18 hr. later. () Navy officers not in the aircrafts direct path reported heavy safes being flung across rooms and people thrown from their chairs.

CBS news

Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes. The steep turn was so smooth, the sources say, it’s clear there was no fight for control going on. And the complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed. The jetliner disappeared from radar at 9:37 and less than a minute later it clipped the tops of street lights and plowed into the Pentagon at 460 mph.


PLANT (LIVE): Well, and speaking to people here at the Pentagon, as they’re being evacuated from the building. I’m told by several people that there was, in fact, an explosion. I was told by one witness, an Air Force enlisted—senior enlisted man, that he was outside when it occurred. He said that he saw a helicopter circle the building. He said it appeared to be a U.S. military helicopter, and that it disappeared behind the building where the helicopter landing zone is—excuse me—and he then saw fireball go into the sky.[]It’s a very tense situation obviously, but initial reports from witnesses indicate that there was in fact a helicopter circling the building, contrary to what the AP reported, according to the witnesses I’ve spoken to anyway, and that this helicopter disappeared behind the building, and that there was then an explosion. That’s about all I have from here.
September 11 Live CNN Transcript, Europe


Smoke and flames engulfed the west wall. Cars traveling nearby were lifted up off the roadway and showered with rocks and other debris. Among the trash littering the road was a scorched green oxygen tank marked “Cabin air. Airline use.” When the debris shower stopped, people began getting out of their cars, some of them screaming.


An explosion at the Pentagon. A car-bomb explosion outside the State Department. A loud explosion reported in the vicinity of the Capitol. There were also reports of a fire on the National Mall, a stretch of open, green space between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. That report was not immediately confirmed. At the White House, employees ran out of the executive mansion as police cleared it. Aides said a credible threat against the White House had come in. At first, the evacuation was orderly but, under orders from the Secret Service, employees were soon ordered to run out of the gates. At the State Department, a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the incident at State appeared connected with the events in New York and at the Pentagon. Something has happened at the State Department, the source said. We don’t know what yet.


The nerve center of the nation’s military burst into flames and a portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapsed when the plane struck in midmorning. Secondary explosions were reported in the aftermath of the attack and great billows of smoke drifted skyward toward the Potomac River and the city beyond.


It was pitch-black, and it was full of smoke. It was very, very hot. We were pretty close to the fire and the explosion, the official said, declining to give his name for security reasons.

Maryland Geological Survey

Since the time of plane impact at the Pentagon had often been reported with large scatter, the United States Army contacted us to inquire whether we could obtain an accurate time of the Pentagon attack on September 11, 2001 based upon our seismic network. We analyzed seismic records from five stations in the northeastern United States, ranging from 63 to 350 km from the Pentagon. Despite detailed analysis of the data, we could not find a clear seismic signal. Even the closest station (= 62.8 km) at Soldier’s Delight, Baltimore County, Maryland (SDMD) did not record the impact. We concluded that the plane impact to the Pentagon generated relatively weak seismic signals. However, we positively identified seismic signals associated with United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed near Shanksville, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The time of the plane crash was 10:06:055 (EDT).


Medical practitioners should acquire additional skills to become knowledgeable in all aspects of blast injuries. The range of injuries runs from pneumothorax, visceral injuries, to the fracture of multiple sites (e.g., ribs, femur, ankle, wrist, and jaw), blast lung, facial burns, concussion, and contusion. Practitioners also need to know all their medevac assets and become knowledgeable and practiced in principles of mass casualty and triage medicine. There are several final takehome points. Crises don’t always come to someone else, said Marc Grossman, former Director General, now Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the Department of State. It can’t happen to me is a myth. Embassies can be front lines, as illustrated by the bombings in East Africa. The case study of the Cole demonstrates the complexity of activities and multiple participants in managing a large scale disaster. That is why such an event is called a complex emergency! There are important lessons to be learned from any disaster that should be shared. The bottom line is: Are you ready?

Ournet family

Anon, from the Naval Annex: We constantly scanned skyward with our eyeball radar, noting the sound of every jet engine seemed to make us jump. Fortunately, the only aircraft noise was the crisp distinctive ripping sound was of Air Force F-16’s or the roar and popping of the rotor blades of a Park Police UH-1 helicopter surveying the damage. The only large fixed wing aircraft to appear was a gray C-130, which appeared to be a Navy electronic warfare aircraft, he seemed to survey the area and depart in on a westerly heading.


The fire was so hot that firefighters could not approach the impact point itself until approximately 1 P.M. The collapse and roof fires left the inner courtyard visible from outside through a gaping hole. The area hit by the plane was newly renovated and reinforced, while the areas surrounding the impact zone were closed in preparation for renovation, so the death toll could have been much higher if another area had been hit.


In the renovated section outside the immediate crash zone, most damage was caused by smoke and water that poured out of brand-new sprinklers. Many of these offices are occupied again.  But there was extensive fire damage hundreds of feet away in unrenovated areas that had not yet had sprinklers installed. The fire was so intense it cracked concrete.


The attack destroyed at least four of the five rings that spiral around the massive office building, hitting in a recently renovated section between corridors four and five.  Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team sent two ten-person squads into the Pentagon to search for survivors and to assess the damage. About 70 members of the team, staffed with paramedics, doctors, engineers and search dogs, headed to the scene at 1 p.m. The specially trained unit, one of two in the United States, has previously responded to bombings in Oklahoma City and Nairobi, Kenya, and also to earthquakes in Turkey, Taiwan and Armenia.  Ten patients were brought to Inova Alexandria Hospital suffering from injuries ranging from burns to head lacerations, according to Kathleen Barry, chief nurse executive. By 1 p.m., two had been discharged, seven were in stable condition and one was in critical condition suffering from smoke inhalation. Earlier reports of other explosions in the Washington region, at the State Department and the Capitol, were not accurate, law enforcement officials said. The crash at the Pentagon, which occurred less than an hour after the New York attacks, triggered immediate security steps in the Washington area, including evacuation of the State Department, the Capitol building and the West wing of the White House. A 38-year-old Marine major who asked to remain anonymous said he and dozens of his colleagues rushed to the area in the Pentagon that appeared most heavily damaged—the B ring between the 4th and 5th corridors. The major said that hundreds of people worked in the B-ring area and that it was decimated… that heat and fire, it could eat you alive in three seconds.


Another Pentagon employee, a 37-year-old Marine major, said he was at a meeting in the innermost A Ring when he heard a thud and felt the building shudder. He and his colleagues rushed to help rescue people from an area that appeared most heavily damaged, the B Ring between corridors 4 and 5. The search for survivors was hampered by intense heat and smoke. As late as 10 p.m., rescue teams were having trouble getting close enough to the worst damage. We went down that first ring, but we only got 100 feet, said Derek Spector, 37, an Arlington firefighter. It was an intense amount of heat. By afternoon, the investigation was underway. At one point, a column of 50 FBI officers walked shoulder-to-shoulder across the south grounds of the Pentagon, picking up debris and stuffing it into brown bags. The lawn was scattered with chunks of the airplane, some up to four feet across.

Unidentified man #1

Anonymous person live on television, shown in “Painful Deceptions” from Eric Hufschmid:
No doubt about it, it was an American airlines. It slammed right into the building.”

Unidentified man #2

Motor 14, it was an American airlines plane, uh, headed eastbound over the Pike, possibly toward the Pentagon. Radio transmission tape released by the Arlington Police Department

Unidentified man #3

Unidentified Man

[Explosion in the background:] “Oh my goodness.  What was that?”  [Reporter off camera:] As we were talking to that man we could see there that there was another explosion that kind of took place inside the fire That is exactly why I said that I was ‘cautiously optimistic’ in the beginning because just as I reported literally moments ago—that the smoke looked like it was dissipating—again, we see now that that rolling dark clouds of smoke have once again started to come from the Pentagon.  At this point, I would have to surmise that the fire is not out—that from officials telling me… that as long as you are standing there and seeing that dark black smoke—that fire is still raging inside.

FOX News 2:27 PM

Unidentified man #4

As I approached the Pentagon, which was still not quite in view, listening on the radio to the first reports about the World Trade Center disaster in New York, a jetliner, apparently at full throttle and not more than a couple of hundred yards above the ground, screamed overhead Seconds before the Pentagon came into view a huge black cloud of smoke rose above the road ahead. I came around the bend and there was the Pentagon billowing smoke, flames and debris, blackened on one side and with a gaping hole where the airplane had hit it.
- Eyewitness at the Pentagon. Human Events, 17 Sep 2001

Unidentified Pentagon Worker

I was in the remote delivery facility… we heard an explosion… all we heard was an explosion.  I understand that a plane has hit the building.  There [are] parts of debris of [the] airplane scattered along the road here… I heard another explosion up there.  Someone told me that an airliner hit the building. [They told him] It was a commercial sized airliner.’  I’m not sure how big it was.  A gentleman just said that he was sitting on 95—the plane flew very low over his car and hit the building and blew his windows out of the vehicle and he’s on interstate 395.  It’s unbelievable.  [Explosion in the background] I just heard an explosion back over that way [pointing away from and to the right of the Pentagon]—I’m not sure what that was either the security people were moving everybody back… I couldn’t see the airplane sticking out of the building.  Apparently the tail pieces (were) sticking out of the building according to… [Doesn’t specify and trails off due to an interruption.]  [Witness in the background:] “[Did you know they just] hit the Washington monument that boom you heard?”  Question: “that’s what that was?”  Answer: “Yes.”  Reporter: [referring to person who just spoke in the background?] “People have been telling me that the Washington monument has just been hit we’re still trying to confirm that.  We all heard that same loud boom out here.  And now we’re all looking to just see what it was.”

FOX News 10:13 AM

Unnamed Navy admiral

[outside the Pentagon]

It was a good size jet aircraft. I saw it clip a light pole but keep coming and then slam into the front of the building.” Houston Chronicle (Lexis-Nexis—Michael Hedges)

Unnamed former flight 77 attendant

An American airlines flight attendant would have been scheduled to fly on her regular flight, AA 77, on September 11, 2001. That day she was excused from work because her father was ill. Her friend and fellow flight attendant, Renee, was on that plane. Renee boarded AA 77 in Washington DC on this regularly scheduled route to Los Angeles. Over Ohio, Renee called her mother on her cell phone and told her to call

American airlines Operations and report that the plane had been hijacked. Renee said there were six hijackers. Press releases since then have only reported five hijackers.  But that is a separate subject due to its size and scope. There were no sounds of struggle when Renee phoned her mother. Her mother could also hear crew members calling out phone numbers for American airlines. Renee did not call her again.

The flight attendant states that she went to the crash site on Friday September 21st during the 10pm to 10am shift with her mother to give support to the crews working on the clean-up of the wreckage. She went inside the Pentagon crash site and saw parts of the plane that she recognized to be an American airlines Boeing 757 that she was familiar with from her years of flying. She recognized part of a tail section bearing the A/A logo. She saw charred human bones. She has no doubts that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11th. I first heard this person describe her memories of the Pentagon crash, in Dallas at the COPA Conference on the anniversary of the JFK assassination, on November 23, 2002. She was still shaken by the loss of her friend and the devastation she had seen on September 11, 2001. Her words can be heard on the website.

See Also: The Pentagon Attack and American airlines Flight 77, by John Judge, 2/21/04


WJLA       (ABC 7) cameraman

Eyewitness Statement by WJLA (ABC 7) Cameraman

on 9/11/01 in Washington DC

Wayne Madsen, an investigative reporter, talked with a cameraman for WJLA, ABC 7, in Washington DC, who had been driving to the Pentagon and came upon a woman standing beside her car in shock. The cameraman stopped and walked over to her. She could not speak, but pointed to the far side of her car. He went around the other side of the car and saw that parts of the passenger side had been sheared off and that there was a piece of a plane’s landing gear on the ground nearby.

Phone interview with Wayne Madsen by David Ratcliffe





Jim Hoffman, Pentagon Eyewitnesses: Analysis of the Pentagon Attack Eyewitness Accounts,

911 - Dump of quotes about the impact of flight 77 in the Pentagon,

Some Eyewitness Accounts: Flight 77 Crash at the Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2001

Penny Schoner, Analysis of Eyewitness Statements on 9/11: American Airlines Flight 77 Crash into the Pentagon,,

Eric Bart, Eyewitness Accounts,

‘SomeGuyYouDontKnow33’, Pentagon Eyewitness Accounts,

Ron Harvey, They Saw the Aircraft,

Joël van der Reijden, Why the No-757 Crowd is Making an Ass out of Itself,

Killtown, Did Flight 77 really crash into the Pentagon?

Arlington Fire Journal: Arlington County Fire Dept, ATTACK ON THE PENTAGON - SEPT. 11, 2001,