A Minute by Minute Breakdown of Series of Events on 9/11

Just like another day, the people of New York were at work. The day was clear when the infamous hijacking started. 9/11 can be called one of the darkest days in the history of world peace. On this day the views of the world about the terrorism changed completely. The American government woke up from its sleep.

In this article, we are going to go down memory lane and present a minute by minute breakdown of the events of 9/11. This will give you an insight of what happened on that particular day. It was undoubtedly one of the dreadful days in the history of mankind.

On that day, four American flights were hijacked by the terrorists and crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center (WTC), the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.

A Coast Guard rescue team from Sandy Hook, NJ, races to the scene of the World Trade Center terrorist attack. USCG photo by PA2 Tom Sperduto

Series of events with corresponding times:

  • 7:59am: A Boeing 767, Flight 11 of American Airlines, departs from the Boston’s Logan International Airport. The flight was going to Los Angeles. There are around 92 people on the plane.
  • 8:14am: Flight 175 of United Airlines also leaves Boston for L.A.
  • 8:19am: The first news of hijacking appears to the ground authorities from the crew of Flight 11. The company then tells the FBI about the hijacking.
  • 8:20am: Another plane, Flight 77 of American Airlines, takes off from the Dulles Airport in Washington. The plane had 64 people aboard. The plane was also going to Los Angeles.
  • 8:24am: The hijacker from the Flight 11 contacts ground authorities accidentally.
  • 8:40am: The NEADS (Northeast Air Defence Sector) plans to scramble two jets to escort Flight 11.
  • 8:41am: Flight 93 of United Airlines takes off from Newark Airport. This plane was headed for San Francisco.
  •  8:46am: The first collision occurs. Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of  WTC on the 93rd to the 99th floors. Everyone inside the plane is dead. There are also hundreds of casualties in the building.
  • 8:47am: Relief and rescue work is started immediately. Immediately, evacuation is started in the North Tower of WTC.
  • 8:50am: The Chief of Staff reports to President Bush about the plane crash in the World Trade Center. The President at that time was on a visit to a school in Florida.
  • 9:02am: The authorities in New York tell people to evacuate the South Tower via public address system. About 10,000 to 14,000 people start evacuating the South Tower of the WTC.
  • 9:03am: United Airline Flight 175 crashes into the 75th to 85th floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, killing all the passengers and crew members aboard and many people inside the building.
  • 9:08am: New York City is declared a no-fly zone. No flights are allowed to take off as well from the city.
  • 9:21am: All the entry and exit points to New York are closed by port authorities.
  • 9:31am: President Bush speaks on the matter for the first time after the attack. He addresses the people of Florida.

An aerial view shot after the Pentagon has been hit by American Airlines Flight 77.

  • 9:37am: Another plane, Flight 77, that was hijacked by the terrorists crashed in the western part of the Pentagon. All the passengers of the plane and 125 military personnel and civilians inside the building are dead.
  • 9:42 am: The FAA orders all flights to the ground with immediate effect. All flights land in the nearest airports. About 3,300 commercial planes and 1,200 private flights are grounded or guided to the airports of Canada and the United States.
  • 9:45 am: Rumours of other attacks spread. Many important buildings along with White House are evacuated.
  • 9:59 am: The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
  • 10:07 am: The passengers of Flight 93 learn from friends about the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon, after that, they try to take the plane from the hijackers. In the attempt, the plane crashes into a field in Pennsylvania. All the 40 passengers aboard are killed.
  • 10:28 am: The North Tower of WTC collapses.
  • 1:00 pm: President Bush is at the Air Force Station in Louisiana. He states that the military is on high alert.
  • 2:51pm: The Navy sends out missile destroyers, which are headed to New York and Washington.
  • 5:20pm: Tower Seven of the WTC collapses from the fire. No casualties are reported, as the tower was evacuated earlier.
  • 6:58 pm: President Bush is back at the White House from Louisiana.
  • 8:30 pm: The President makes a speech to the nation, calling the act an “evil, despicable acts of terror”. He says that America and its allies will “stand together to win the war against terrorism”.

This is the timeline of the attacks on WTC on 9/11/2001. About 3000 people on the ground were killed due to this attack. It could have been more if the passengers of the fourth plane had not attempted to take over the plane. Indeed this attack was on humanity.

Here is a more detailed version of the events that occurred on the day of 9/11.

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