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V 1.43
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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

Large Jetliner

Eyewitness Accounts Describe Jetliner Approaching and Striking Pentagon

Of the more than 100 eyewitness accounts in Eric Bart's compilation, most refer to a jet aircraft approaching the Pentagon in the moments before the explosion. Of the accounts that indicate the type of aircraft observed, the majority describe a large twin-engine jetliner, consistent with a Boeing 757, which Flight 77 was, or a Boeing 737. Far fewer witnesses recalled a small aircraft approaching the Pentagon. Following are accounts organized into two categories.

The two accounts that describe a commuter jet were both by observers who were at considerable distances from the scene.

Large Jetliner

Alan Wallace -- firefighter with safety crew at Pentagon's heliport
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.

Albert Hemphill -- from inside the Naval Annex
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

James S. Robbins -- Robbins, a national-security analyst and 'nationalreviewonline' contributor, watched from his 6th story office window in Arlington
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, ...

Tim Timmerman --
... said it had been an American Airways 757.

Tim Timmerman -- from 16th floor apartment near National Airport
It was a Boeing 757, American Airlines, no question.

Mike Dobbs -- observed from upper level of outer ring of Pentagon
... looking out the window when he saw an American Airlines 737 twin-engine airliner strike the building.

Terry Morin -- watched from 5th wing of BMDO offices at the old Navy Annex
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.

Jim Sutherland -- from his car
... 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.

Noel Sepulveda --
... saw a commercial airliner coming from the direction of Henderson Hall the Marine Corps headquarters.

Madelyn Zakhem --
... 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.

Joel Sucherman --
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.

Dave Winslow -- Winslow is an AP reporter
I saw the tail of a large airliner ... It ploughed right into the Pentagon.

Small Jet

Steve Patterson -- watched from 14th-floor apartment in Pentagon City
... it appeared to him that a commuter jet swooped over Arlington National Cemetery and headed for the Pentagon ...

Don Wright -- watched from the 12th floor, 1600 Wilson Boulevard, in Rosslyn
I watched this ...it looked like a commuter plane, two engined ... come down from the south real low ...

page last modified: 2011-09-08