The 9/11 Tapes: Chaos in the Sky on Discover Channel presented voice recordings of people on that fateful day. From the air traffic controllers, the people on the other side of those recordings and time stamps go through the desperate transmissions to the planes. On the other end of the transmissions were routine pilot and co-pilot transmissions until there was silence. On Boston Flight 11, all seemed fine until the transmissions ceased. Finally a Middle Eastern voice is heard saying that if everyone is quiet, they were returning to the airport.
Suddenly the word “hijack” is heard but the traffic crew is not overly concerned, as previous hijacking incidents have proven not much of a consequence. On Flight 11 the hijackers disabled the transponder. Now unaware of their location, they knew they were in a descent. During the time that the crew was unable to reach the cockpit, a flight attendant was in touch with the air traffic controllers stating that the cockpit was locked and the plane was flying erratically.
As controllers got word that a plane hit the World Trade Center, they were dumbfounded. Then another controller lost contact with United 175. Frantically, the controllers tried to reach the pilot as jet fighter planes were dispatched to divert another tragedy, but they were not close enough. The second plane went right into the second tower. The control tower was in silence and total shock.
As the second plane hit, in less than one minute Flight 77 fell off the radar over Indianapolis, Indiana. The FAA grounded all airplanes but there were over 4,000 planes still in the sky. Confused transmissions inaccurately called this third plane American 11, which had already flew into the WTC thirty-five minutes before. The United 93 over Cleveland had screaming coming directly from the cockpit. Six miles over the White House which is seconds in air time, a flight was spotted. Fighter jets were sent in the wrong direction originally and then diverted back to Washington, DC with all rules thrown out the windows. American 77 was the missing jet that flew into the Pentagon.
On Flight 93, Cleveland received word that there was a bomb aboard. When suddenly the plane turned from Cleveland and headed to Washington, DC. A Middle Eastern voice came over the transmission to the passengers; “This is the Captain. I would like you all to remain seated. We have a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and have our demands, so please remain quiet.” The passengers aboard Flight 93 started calling their loved ones. Mark Bingham called his mother, and found out about the WTC and Pentagon and told him to do whatever they could aboard the plane to overtake the hijackers.
After 90 minutes after the original hijack, the FAA had no orders to shoot another plane down, then finally word came through from the Vice President to shoot down any plane that did not respond to their command. The order came too late, for Flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania, thanks to the bravery of the people onboard and although a tragedy for the lives lost; the brave act of a few diverted another tragedy of massive proportions.
The chilling voices of those who lived and those who died should never be forgotten.