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SFO-Bound United Jetliner Crashes in Western Pennsylvania

Passenger Reported Hijacking In Cell Phone Call

Crash site
The site of a United Airlines crash in Somerset County, Pa. The flight was bound for San Francisco.
(ABCNEWS.com)
A United Airlines jetliner crashed Tuesday morning in western Pennsylvania, the airline said. Minutes earlier, a man who said he was a passenger on the plane told an emergency dispatcher in a cell phone call: "We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked!"

United said 45 people were aboard Flight 93 from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco. The fate of the passengers was not immediately announced. The Boeing 757 crashed north of Somerset County airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

The crash was one of four reported Tuesday by United and American Airlines. United said a second jet crashed at an undisclosed location. American Airlines initially said two of its planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York but later said that was unconfirmed.

In Pennsylvania, an emergency dispatcher received a cell phone call at 9:58 a.m. from a man who said he was a passenger locked in a bathroom aboard United Flight 93, said dispatch supervisor Glenn Cramer in neighboring Westmoreland County. The man repeatedly told officials the call was not a hoax.

"We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked!" Cramer quoted the man from a transcript of the call.

The man told dispatchers the plane "was going down. He heard some sort of explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane and we lost contact with him," Cramer said.

According to Somerset County dispatchers, Flight 93 crashed about 10 a.m. about 8 miles east of Jennerstown.

United said Flight 93 left Newark, N.J., at 8:01 a.m. with 38 passengers, two pilots and five flight attendants.

Because of the attacks in New York, the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered all departing flights canceled nationwide, and any planes already in the air were to land a the nearest airport. The Pennsylvania crash came after the order was issued.

United Advancing Families Of Flight 93 $25,000 For Immediate Expenses
A spokeswoman for United Airlines says the company is advancing $25,000 to the families of passengers on Flight 93.

United Airlines spokeswoman Jenna Ludgate says the airline is advancing the money to meet the families' immediate needs.

A passenger list has not been released, pending notification of the victims' families. San Francisco International Airport spokesman Ron Wilson says many of the passengers were headed to Sacramento and Fresno.

Copyright 2001 by Bay City News, Inc. — republication, re-transmission or reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.


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