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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

Cell Phone Calls

Missing Evidence About the September 11th Flights

Early press reports indicated that several of the numerous phone calls attributed to passengers on the four commandeered jetliners were from the victims' cell phones. These reports, combined with reports that cell phones fail to connect in aircraft at altitude, have fueled claims that such calls must have been faked.

David Ray Griffin, after detailed study of press reports of the calls summarized the ocurrence of calls purportedly made from cell phones in his 2008 article "Reported Cell Phone Calls from the 9/11 Planes": "[T]here were at least eleven cell phone calls from United Flight 93" plus "two each from UA 175 and AA 77." As a result, "it has been widely believed that there were at least fifteen . . . cell phone calls." 1   In the same article, Griffin examines several of these press accounts, such as are excerpted here.


Reports Mentioning Cell Phones

The following excerpts, mostly from mainstream press reports, contain explicit references to calls from the indicated individuals, who were passengers on Flight 93.

Peter Hanson

U.S. officials began piecing together a case linking Osama bin Laden to the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, aided by an intercept of communications between his supporters and harrowing cell phone calls from victims aboard the jetliners before they crashed on Tuesday.
The man was identified as former Easton, Conn., resident Peter Hanson. A minister [Rev. Bonnie Bardot] confirmed the cell phone call to his father, Lee Hanson, an official in Easton, a small town near Bridgeport. 2  

Sandy Bradshaw

"We're all back here getting hot water together and getting ready to take over the plane," Bradshaw told her husband, Phil, in a cellular phone conversation that proved to be their last.
While Sandy talked, she and other flight attendants were boiling water to toss on the hijackers. Nearby, many passengers were making cell phone calls, a few were plotting an uprising. 3  

Elizabeth Wainio

Elizabeth Wainio, 27, was speaking to her stepmother in Maryland. Another passenger, she explains, had loaned her a cell phone and told her to call her family. "I have to go," Wainio says, cutting the call short. "They're about to storm the cockpit" referring to her fellow passengers. 4  

Marion Briggon

[Marion Britton] called longtime friend Fred Fiumano, from whom she had borrowed a cell phone. 5  

Tom Burnett

Deena Burnett clutched the phone at her home in San Ramon, east of San Francisco. She was at once terrified, yet strangely calmed by her husband's steady voice over his cell phone. 6  

Deena's 2006 book "Fighting Back: Living Beyond Ourselves" recounts her understanding that her husband was calling from his cell phone.

I didn't understand how he could be calling me on his cell phone from the air. 7  

According to an interview of Deena Burnett by the FBI, she could see the caller ID of her husband's cell phone.

Burnett was able to determine that her husband was using his own cellular telephone because the caller identification showed his number, [XXXXXXXXXX]. Only one of the calls did not show on the caller identification as she was on the line with another call. 8  

Official Reports

The most detailed official account of the phone calls from passengers -- at least those on Flight 93 -- is contained in Exhibit Number P200055 of the United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui prosecution trial exhibits published on July 31, 2006 by the District Court in Alexandria Virginia. 9   That exhibit labels only two of the calls made from Flight 93 as cell phone calls: one by CeeCee Lyles, a flight attendant, and one by Edward Felt, made from a bathroom. The trial exhibit graphics label both calls as having been made at 9:58 AM -- minutes before the plane's crash, when it would have been at a low altitude.


1. Reported Cell Phone Calls from the 9/11 Planes, GlobalResearch.ca,
2. Experts, U.S. suspect Osama bin Laden, accused architect of world's worst terrorist attacks,
3. Flight attendant helped fight hijackers, News & Record, 9/21/2001 [cached]
4. We're going to do something, one of the passengers told his wife..., Newsweek,
5. 13-minute call bonds her forever with hero, post-gazette.com, [cached]
6. Widow tells of poignant last calls, Sacramento Bee, 9/11/2002 [cached]
7. Fighting Back: Living Beyond Ourselves, Advantage Inspirational Books,
8. Interview with Deena Lynne Burnett, Intelfiles.com,
9. United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui Criminal No. 01-455-A, vaed.uscourts.gov,

page last modified: 2011-09-13