Pentagon Attack Eyewitness Account Compilation by 'SomeGuyYouDontKnow33'
This Pentagon crash eyewitness compilation is copied from www.geocities.com/someguyyoudontknow33/witnesses.htm, a website 'debunking alternative Pentagon crash theories. It is less extensive than the Eric Bart compilation and overlaps with it, but has some additional witness accounts.
[C] Confirmed date witness gave his/her testimony
[A] Date testimony appeared in article or other medium
|Steve Anderson||10/02/01 [C]||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.||
Shortly 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 it's 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.
|James Madison University website|
|Deb Anlauf||9/12/01 [A]||14th-floor room in the Sheraton National Hotel in Arlington||Anlauf was watching TV coverage of the Trade Center burning shortly before 9:30 a.m. when she decided to return to her 14th-floor room from another part of the hotel. Once in her room, she heard a "loud roar" and looked out the window to see what was going on. "Suddenly I saw this plane right outside my window," Anlauf said during a telephone interview from her hotel room this morning. "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."||
Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI)
Also see AP wire 9/12 & 9/13
|9/15/01 [A]||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)|
|Ralph Banton||9/11/01 [C]||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|
|David Battle||9/12/01 [A]||standing outside the Pentagon just about to enter||"It was coming down head first," he said. "And when the impact hit, the cars and everything were just shaking."||Albuquerque Tribune Online|
|Gary Bauer||11/01 [C]||driving into Washington DC||
“I was in a massive traffic jam, hadn’t moved more than a hundred yards in twenty minutes. My office called to tell me about the first plane in New York, the reaction was ‘horrible accident.’ And then they called about the second plane, and clearly that meant something much worse was going on. It was only then that I really noticed where I was in that traffic jam. I was going past the Pentagon, really inching a yard or so every couple of 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.
Also see Bauer's interview with The Charlotte World
USA TODAY reporter
|9/12/01 [A]||"Then the plane flew right over my head. I said to myself, boy, that plane is going awfully fast. That plane is going to crash .... The noise was like an artillery shell, not an explosion like a bomb"||The Hartford Courant (Lexis-Nexis)|
|5/22/02 [C]||driving to work northbound on the highway that runs parallel to the Pentagon||
"I heard an airplane. A very loud airplane. ... I heard the airplane coming from behind me. ... So I looked up, and I saw this airplane coming, heading straight down toward the ground. It was an American Airlines airplane, I could see it very clearly. ... The plane went down and for a split second it was out of my line of vision because there was a bridge there and a hill. ... I didn't actually see the impact... I didn't see any flaps, it looked like the plane was just in a normal flying mode but heading straight down, sharply down. It was straight. No flopping. It was going pretty straight. ... The only thing we saw on the ground outside there was a piece of a - the tail of a lamp post."
ATC and Pentagon tower chief
|11/16/01 [A]||in the Pentagon control tower||"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 Pentagram|
|Donald R. Bouchoux||9/20/01 [A]||driving west sfrom Tysons Corner on Washington Boulevard (Route 27)||"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 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."||The Washington Post (Lexis-Nexis)|
|Pam Bradley||9/13/01 [A]||on a bridge in a car on the way to work in DC||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|
Defense Protective Service officer
|9/28/01 [A]||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.||Henderson Hall News|
Reporter for the newspaper Stars and Stripes
|9/12/01 [A]||in the Pentagon courtyard||"I heard two loud booms - one large, one small."||The Sydney Morning Herald|
|Lisa Burgess||9/12/01 [A]||"I heard two loud booms - one large, one smaller, and the shock wave threw me against the wall."||Stars and Stripes|
|Omar Campo||9/12/01 [A]||cutting the grass on the other side of the road||"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."||The Guardian|
|outside, across the river||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|
|Susan Carroll||9/11/02 [A]||platform high above Reagan waiting for a Metro||"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.||Jacksonville.com|
|James R. Cissell||9/12/01 [A]||listening to his car radio and the news of the planes slamming into the World Trade Center while sitting in traffic on Interstate 110 by the Pentagon||''Out of my peripheral vision, I saw this plane coming in and it was low - and getting lower. ''If you couldn't touch it from standing on the highway, you could by standing on your car.'' ''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. ''I remember thinking, 'The World Trade Center was just the beginning, there's going to be more.' '' He remembers the helipad the plane flew over before smacking into the Pentagon was close enough to him that ''I could have thrown a baseball at it and hit it.'' 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.''||The Cincinnati Post|
|Dennis Clem||"There was a commercial airliner that said American Airliners over the side of it flying at just above treetop height at full speed headed for the Pentagon."|
|Allen Cleveland||9/11/01 [C]||on a Metro train just pulling into the National Airport Station||
"I was just pulling in on the subway station just at National Airport. I just happened to look over - actually my back was facing in the direction of the Pentagon - 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."
|The Washington Post (video)|
|Allen Cleveland||10/28/01 [C]||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 inlaw 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.||Review for Spooky 8: The Final Mission (Search for cleveland)|
|Scott P. Cook||fifth floor of the Portals building, at 1280 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington DC, the southernmost building at the end of 14th Street, right at the Tidal Basin and Maine Avenue||"We didn’t know what kind of plane had hit the Pentagon, or where it had hit. Later, we were told that 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. I cannot fathom why neither myself nor Ray, a former Air Force officer, missed a big 757, going 400 miles an hour, as it crossed in front of our window in its last 10 seconds of flight. ... 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.||Witness account at Clothmonkey.com|
|Dan Creed||9/06/02 [A]||stopped in a car next to the Navy Annex||"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. 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."||Ahwatukee Foothills News|
|Steve DeChiaro||8/01/02 [A]||"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."||Scripps Howard News Service|
|Kim Dent||9/11/01 [C]||looking out of the window of an office in the Navy Annex||"We saw the shadow of a plane. We heard the engine. We all said, 'That plane is flying kind of close.' "||USA TODAY|
|Michael DiPaula||9/08/02 [A]||walking outside to a construction trailer||"It sounded like a missile," DiPaula recalls. "There were three loud thump, thump, thumps. You could hear the metal cracking and crinkling, and the explosion."||The Baltimore Sun|
|9/11/01 [C]||standing on one of the upper levels of the outer ring of the Pentagon looking out the window||"It was an American airlines airliner. I was looking out the window and saw it come right over the Navy annex at a slow angle. It looked to me to be on a zero-to-zero course. It seemed to be almost coming in in slow motion. I didn't actually feel it hit, but I saw it and then we all started running."||Scripps Howard News Service|
|Mike Dobbs||9/13/01 [A]||"... 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 (Lexis-Nexis - Philip Dine)|
|Daryl Donley||9/12/01 [A]||presumably on road in front of Pentagon||"It just was amazingly precise," Daryl Donley, another commuter, said of the plane's impact. "It completely disappeared into the Pentagon."||The News Journal|
|Daryl Donley||9/08/02 [A]||"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)|
|Bob Dubill||9/19/02 [A]||driving past the Pentagon on his way to work at USA Today||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)|
on the road in front of the Pentagon
We set out in the car and immediately turned on the news radio to follow what was happening in New York City. After fifteen minutes into our trip, a new report came over the radio stating that a second aircraft (another passenger airliner) had struck the World Trade Center. ... 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 convertable 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 a 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 an 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.
|Steve Eiden||2001||driving on the Highway 95 loop in the area of the Pentagon||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. While on the road, he heard radio reports that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. He was quoted in The Baxter Bulletin a few days later: "I thought, this sounds like an Orson Welles kind of deal." 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.||The Baxter Bulletin (Arkansas)|
|Penny Elgas||north on I-395 to DC, "stuck in late morning rush hour traffic -- almost in front of the Pentagon"||"For most of my drive I had been totally focused on my radio and was extremely aware of the events that were unfolding in New York. Even though the radio reporters were cautious, I was already convinced from the first strike that it was not just an unfortunate pilot error." "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."||National Museum of American History website|
|9/12/01 [C]||about to board a shuttle van in a south parking lot||"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."||The Hawk Eye|
|Kim Flyler||9/08/02 [A]||trying to park her car||"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 Guardian|
|Ken Ford||9/11/01 [C]||15th floor of the State Department Annex, just across the Potomac from the Pentagon||We were watching the airport through binoculars, he 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.||The News Journal (Delaware)|
|Kat Gaines||2/19/02 [A]||on her way to a part-time job at Reagan National Airport heading south on Route 110, in front of the Pentagon parking lots||
Her commute to the airport took her south on Route 110, in front of the parking lots of the Pentagon. As she approached the parking lots, she saw a low-flying jetliner strike the top of nearby telephone poles. She then heard the plane power up and plunge into the Pentagon.
|Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce website|
|Fred Gaskins||9/11/01 [C]||driving to his job at USA TODAY||"(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|
|Steven Gerard||9/11/01 [C]||at work at the Justice Department||"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|
|Mike Gerson||9/11/02 [A]||driving on I-395||"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)|
|Afework Hagos||9/12/01 [A]||stuck in a traffic jam near the Pentagon||"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."||The Guardian|
|Afework Hagos||9/11/01 [C]||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||The Washington Post|
|Cheryl Hammond||9/14/01 [A]||presumably the Pentagon's south parking lot||Cheryl Hammond was the person who called Harrington and his crew out into the 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|
|9/14/01 [A]||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."||The Pentagram|
|Albert Hemphill||9/11/01 [C]||office in the Navy Annex overlooking the Pentagon||
"Having just witnessed the CNN coverage of New York" "with a head full of the horror in New York, 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, 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.
|Eugenio Hernandez||9/02 [A]||driving northbound on I-395||"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)|
|Fred Hey||9/17/01 [A]||driving on Route 50||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 (R) 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|
|Joe Hurst||9/21/01 [A]||Oval Room restaurant at Lafayette Square?||"I saw it go overhead, the plane."||Boston Globe (Lexis Nexis - Brian McGrory)|
|Michael James||9/12/01 [A]||in a car||"The plane came over the top of us 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)|
|Will Jarvis||2002 [A]||“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.”||University of Toronto Magazine|
|Andrea Kaiser||10/29/01 [C]||Arlington County Fire Department Fire Truck 101||"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)|
|Terrance Kean||9/12/01 [A]||watched from a 14-story residence building nearby||"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."||The Washington Post|
|James Keglovich||9/15/01 [A]||across the street from the Pentagon||"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)|
Cmdr. U.S. Navy (Ret.)
|9/11/02 [A]||in an office in downtown D.C.||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|
|D.S. Khavkin||9/13/01 [A]||"We live in Arlington, VA just outside of Washington, DC in a high-rise building on the eight floor. Our balcony faces the city, with a panoramic view of the Pentagon, National Airport, and the entire downtown area of Washington, DC."||
"We were watching the events unfolding on TV in New York. Then,
at about 9:40 am Eastern Daylight Time, my husband and I heard an aircraft
directly overhead. At first, we thought it was the jets that sometimes
fly overhead. However, it appeared to be a small commercial aircraft.
The engine was at full throttle.
|Aydan Kizildrgli||9/11/01 [C]||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."||USA TODAY|
|Ann Krug||11/15/01 [A]||Hoffman-Boston Elementary School||Ann Krug's kindergarten class saw the plane crash outside the classroom's 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|
Defense Protective Service
|9/11/02 [A]||somewhere outside the Pentagon||"It was close enough that I could see the windows and the blinds had been pulled down. I read American Airlines on it." "I didn't hear anything, but 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. I realized what it was doing."||ABC News|
|Robert A. Leonard||9/20/01 [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)|
|9/12/01 [A]||parking lot||"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 realised what was happening," he said. Captain Liebner says the aircraft struck a helicopter on the helipad, setting fire to a fire truck. "We got one guy out of the [fire truck] 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.||ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)|
|5/02 [A]||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."|
|Lincoln Leibner||8/29/02 [A]||running to an entrance of the Pentagon||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. "||The OSU Observer|
|Mary Lyman||9/12/01 [A]||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|
|Mary Lyman||9/16/01 [A]||driving northbound on I-395||"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|
|David Marra||9/12/01 [A]||had just turned off an I-395 exit to the highway just west of the Pentagon||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.||TIME Online Edition|
|Oscar Martinez||9/11/01 [C]||"I saw a big jet flying close to the building coming at full speed. There was a big noise when it hit the building."||Associated Press|
|Kenneth McClellan||10/17/01 [A]||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|
|Elaine McCusker||10/04/01 [A]||about to cross the 14th Street bridge heading into D.C.||"I was heading to a 10 a.m. meeting. It was a beautiful day and I had the car windows down. My radio was on and they broke in to report the second plane hitting the World Trade Center. I felt behind the curve because I hadn’t known about the first plane. I hadn’t watched TV that morning and had no idea about the level of destruction. Then the President came on the air saying that we had been the subject of an apparent terrorist attack. 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."||University Week (U. of Washington)|
|Stephen McGraw||9/28/01 [A]||stuck in standstill traffic in the left lane of northbound Washington Boulevard||"The traffic was very slow moving, and at one point just about at a standstill." "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. "I hadn't heard about the World Trade Center at that point, and so I was thinking this was an accident. I figured it was just an accident. 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."||The Pentagram|
|Stephen McGraw||9/5/02 [A]||I had no awareness of the incoming plane until it was above our cars, having knocked over the street lamp at the edge of the road. After seeing the plane crash a split-second later, I assumed that it was a terrible accident, and, with my holy oil and stole and manual of care for the sick, I left my car, crossed over the other lanes of traffic, which remained at a standstill, and onto the lawn of the Pentagon.||Arlington Catholic Herald|
|William Middleton Sr.||12/20/01 [A]||running his street sweeper through Arlington National Cemetery||One day last week, 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)|
|Kirk Milburn||9/11/01 [C]||on the Arlington National Cemetery exit of Interstate 395||"I was right underneath the plane." "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."||The Washington Post|
Ret. Army Col.
|9/13/01 [C]||coming from National Airport on I-395 towards the Pentagon||"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)|
Former USMC aviator
|9/01 [C]||outside the Navy Annex||I had just reached the elevator in the 5th Wing of BMDO/Federal Office Building (FOB) #2 – call it approximately 9:36 AM. I was already trying to make some sense out of the World Trade Tower attacks having heard about them on the radio. The news was sketchy, but the fact that it was a terrorist attack was already known. I then realized that I was wearing sunglasses and needed to go back to Lot 3 to retrieve my clear lenses. Since it was by no means a short walk to my car, I was upset with myself for being so distracted. Approximately 10 steps out from between Wings 4 and 5, I was making a gentle right turn towards the security check-in building just above Wing 4 when I became aware of something unusual. I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking about at that moment, but I started to hear an increasingly loud rumbling behind me and to my left. As I turned to my left, I immediately realized the noise was bouncing off the 4-story structure that was Wing 5. One to two seconds later the airliner came into my field of view. By that time the noise was absolutely deafening. I instantly had a very bad feeling about this but things were happening very quickly. 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 1/2 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.||Coping.org|
|9/11/02?||four stories up on a scaffold outside the Navy Annex building||"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|
Navy Times reporter
|9/11/01 [C]||driving south on I-395||Already dumbfounded by the first, sketchy radio reports of the catastrophic attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York, I couldn’t believe what I was now seeing to my right: 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. ... 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.||Navy Times|
USA TODAY.com reporter
|9/11/01 [C]||driving near the Pentagon||"The plane exploded after it hit, the tail came off and it began burning immediately."||USA TODAY|
|Vin Narayanan||9/17/01 [C]||stuck in traffic alongside the Pentagon||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.||USA TODAY|
|John O'Keefe||9/11/01 [C]||northbound on I-395, "up Washington Boulevard"||“I was going up Interstate 395, up Washington Boulevard, listening to the radio, to the news, to WTOP, and from my left side, 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. 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. 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.||The National Law Journal|
Mary Ann Owens
|9/11/01 [C]||on a highway between Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon||I was stopped in traffic beside the Pentagon, listening to the terrible news on the radio: A second plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York. The sound of the engines came so quickly I thought it was another helicopter landing. I looked left to see a large plane barely clear the I-395 overpass. 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. The plane slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon, perhaps at the third-floor level. The impact was deafening. The fuselage hit the ground and blew up. 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|
|Mary Ann Owens||9/11/02 [C]||lodged in gridlock on Washington Boulevard, next to the Pentagon||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. Realising the Pentagon was its target, I didn't 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.||This is Local London|
|Zinovy Pak||11/21/01 [A]||on his way to the Pentagon||"saw a plane crash into the building."||Moscow Times (Lexis-Nexis - Yevgenia Borisova)|
|Steve Patterson||9/11/01 [C]||14th-floor apartment in Pentagon City||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 cemetary 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.||The Washington Post|
|Scott Perry||9/12/01 [A]||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|
|Christine Peterson||10/18/01 [C]||at a complete stop on the road in front of the helipad at the Pentagon||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.||NAU Alumni Association website|
|Linda Plaisted||4/02/02 [C]||in office at home in Arlington 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 loyder 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.||Wherewereyou.org contribution #1148|
|Frank Probst||9/12/01 [A]||standing on the sidewalk near the Pentagon||"and I saw this plane coming right at me at what seemed like 300 mph. I dove towards the ground and watched this great big engine from this beautiful airplane just vaporize. It looked like a huge fireball, pieces were flying out everywhere," Probst said.||MDW News (Military District of Washington)|
|Lon Rains||At the latest 9/15/01 [A]||driving up Interstate 395 from Springfield to downtown Washington, Pentagon was to the left of his van at about 10 o’clock on the dial of a clock||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.||Space News|
|Wanda Ramey||9/22/01 [A]||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)
|Alfred S. Regnery||9/17/01 [A]||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 overhead. Although airplanes regularly fly over the Pentagon on their way to Reagan National Airport, just a mile or two south, this plane was too low and going too fast. As I watched it disappear behind bridges and concrete barriers I knew it was about to crash.||Human Events Online|
|Rick Renzi||9/12/01 [A]||driving by the Pentagon||"The plane came in at an incredibly steep angle with incredibly high speed."||Cox News|
|Rick Renzi||About a month after 9/11/01||overpass overlooking the Pentagon||"The jet creamed in at a dive bombing angle"||BBC News (video)|
|3/11/02 [C]||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 first... It 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 wing... and yes, it did impact the Pentagon... There was none of this hitting-the-ground first crap I keep hearing... It was definitely an American Airlines jet... There is no doubt about that... When I got to work I checked it out."||Email interview with humanunderground.com|
|James S. Robbins||4/09/02 [C]||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.||
We brought the news up on the projection screen in our darkened conference room and watched the coverage, seeing endless six-foot high replays of the impacts and explosions. ... 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.
|National Review Online|
|Meseidy Rodriguez||9/11/01 [C]||on a Metro train just pulling into the National Airport Station||I saw the plane but I saw it as it was about to hit. I didn't see it coming in, because he just caught my attention. He yelled, and I looked up and ... I just saw very little of it. All I could tell it was a mid-sized plane, then it was gone, then there was just all this smoke... It went straight for the Pentagon.||The Washington Post (video)|
|Joseph Royster||9/13/01 [A]||driving||"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)|
|9/17/01 [A]||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|
|James Ryan||5/02 [C]||driving||
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)|
|Don Scott||9/16/01 [A]||driving eastward past the Pentagon on his way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center; just passed the Pentagon and was near the Macy's store in Crystal City||"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."||The Washington Post (Lexis-Nexis)|
Navy Master Sgt.
|4/15/02 [A]||walking to his motorcycle in the Pentagon parking lot||Sepulveda walked back to his motorcycle and saw a commercial airliner coming from the direction of Henderson Hall, adjacent to the Pentagon and where the Marine Corps has its headquarters. He said he noticed the airplane was not following the Potomac River, the normal flight path to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. He saw the plane fly 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," Sepulveda said. The plane dipped its nose and crashed into the southwest side of the Pentagon. "The right engine hit high, the left engine hit low," Sepulveda said. "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. When he regained his balance, he started running to the crash site.||Air Force Link|
|Elizabeth Smiley||9/12/01 [A]||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)|
|Dennis Smith||10/01/01 [A]||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|
|Steve Snaman||9/14/01 [A]||Fort McNair||"We saw the plane hit the Pentagon."||National Electric Contractors Association website|
|10/01 [A]||Quaker Lane in Arlington||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."||Soldiers Online|
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)|
|G. T. Stanley||10/18/01 [A]||on Route 27 getting off the Columbia Pike||"That plane was screaming. The engines were so loud ... I followed the plane down with my eyes. I saw it hit the building."||The Washington Post (Lexis-Nexis - Avis Thomas-Lester)|
|9/12/01 [A]||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|
|Steve Storti||9/12/02 [A]||on the balcony of his apartment building which is less than a mile away from the Pentagon in Crystal City||
...saw a second plane hit the second tower. ...
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|
Editor of USAToday.com
|9/11/01 [C]||“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. ... I did not see the engines, I saw the body and the tail and it was a silver jet, with the markings along the windows that spoke to me as an American Airlines jet. This was not a commercial, excuse me, a business jet, right it was not a Learjet, Gulfstream something like that. It was a bigger plane than that.”||USA TODAY interview|
|Joel Sucherman||9/13/01 [A]||commuting to work||"My first thought was he's not going to make it across the river to [Reagan] National Airport. But whoever was flying the plane made no attempt to change direction," Sucherman said. "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."||eWEEK.com|
|Greta van Susteren||9/12/01 [A]||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)|
|Shari Taylor||Pentagon parking lot||"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
|Carla Thompson||9/12/01 [A]||at work in an Arlington office building about 1,000 yards from the Pentagon||"I glanced up just at the point where the plane was going into the building."||Los Angeles Times|
|Phillip Thompson||The week after 9/11/01 [C]||sitting in traffic in the I-395 HOV lanes directly across from the Navy Annex; could see the roof of the Pentagon and the Washington Monument in the distance||I fought in the Gulf War. I saw bombs and missiles explode overhead. ... 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. ... Sirens howled in the distance. ... Then a gray C-130 flew overhead, setting off a new round of panic.||MilitaryCity.com|
Army Major who works in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff
|inside the Pentagon||"To me the explosion happened in two portions. It didn't sound like much. There was a large whoosh and then a kind of a karumph sound."||
We Were on Duty documentary (audio - 4:55)
Also see WWOD website
|Henry Ticknor||1/02 [A]||driving to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA||"There was a puff of white smoke and then a huge billowing black cloud."||UU World|
|Tim Timmerman||9/11/01 [C]||16th floor of a corner apartment overlooking the Pentagon||
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.
|Michael Tinyk||9/13/01 [A]||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)|
|Thomas J. Trapasso||9/17/01 [A]||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|
Thomas J. Trapasso
|9/11/02?||see above||"There were no wheels down. It was screaming loud and going very fast."||UCLA website|
Clyde A. Vaughn
Army Brig. Gen.
|9/13/01 [A]||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|
|Alan Wallace||9/11/01 [C]||standing outside his fire station||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|
|Alan Wallace||10/24/01 [A]||"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)|
|Alan Wallace||9/11/01||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)|
USA TODAY reporter
|9/11/01 [C]||sitting in a traffic standstill on northbound 27||"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, it's 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."||CNN News|
|Mike Walter||9/12/01 [A]||"...I saw a big silver plane and those double A's."||Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Lexis-Nexis)|
|Mike Walter||5/22/02 [C]||driving northbound on a road to the west of the Pentagon||
"...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.."
|Rodney Washington||9/12/01 [A]||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|
AP Radio reporter
|9/12/01 [A]||"I saw the tail of a large airliner ... It plowed right into the Pentagon."||The Guardian|
|Dave Winslow||9/02 [A]||10th floor apartment of a 17-floor block in Pentagon City||"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)|
|Don Wright||looking out 12th floor windows at 1600 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn, VA||
"I watched this - it looked like a commuter plane, two-engined 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)|
|Ian Wyatt||9/11/01 [C]||walking to his federal job||"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."||The Free Lance-Star (video)|
|Ian Wyatt||9/11/01 [C]||"It was going so fast and it was so low."||The Free Lance-Star|
|Madelyn Zakhem||9/21/01 [A]||on a bench outside the VDOT Smart Traffic Center||"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."||The Friday Report (Roads to the Future)|
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 too low, and the next thing we saw was a 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.
|"Dave"||9/11/01 [C]||near the Lincoln Memorial||"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|
|"Div Devlin"||9/18/01 [C]||in 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|
|"Gus"||9/15/01 [A]||across the Potomac||"I was working Tuesday," he says. "I saw the plane. Low. Too low. Fast."||Cox News Service (Lexis Nexis - Paul Reid)|
|"K.M."||9/14/01 [A]||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|
|"M.J."||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|
|"Rick M."||9/09/02?||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!||Aande.com message board - unverified|
|"skarlet"||9/11/01 [C]||drove up alongside the Pentagon||
(saw footage of planes hitting the WTC)
As I came up along the Pentagon I saw helicopters. That's not strange. It's the Pentagon. Then I saw the plane. There were only a few cars on the road, we all stopped. I know I wanted to believe that plane was making a low descent into National Airport, but it was nearly on the road. And it was headed straight for the building. It made no sense. The pilot didn't seem to be planning to pull up anytime soon. It was there. A huge jet. Then it was gone. A massive hole in the side of the Pentagon gushed smoke. The noise was beyond description. ... 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. ... 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.
|Punk Princess weblog|
|9/14/01 [C]||about 1/2 mile away||"I saw the jet just before it crashed. Something big and silver, nose down going aimed like a dart straight into it."||Google groups message|
|6/12/02 [C]||in a car on the highway next to the side of the Pentagon that was hit||>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 plan. 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 nickle because of the force of the crash.
|Google groups message|
|Unidentified man||9/11/01 [C]||"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."||NBC News|
|Unidentified man||9/11/01 [C]||" 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|
|Unnamed Navy admiral||9/11/01 [C]||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)|