Humint Events Online: The Flight 93 Passenger Revolt-- What Happened?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Flight 93 Passenger Revolt-- What Happened?

Here we get to the heart of the whole flight 93 story, and here is where things get most confused.

The first problem is the time of the flight 93 crash, which the 9/11 commission report puts at 10:03am, but seismic data puts at 10:06am.

The second problem is what the cockpit voice recorder says about the last minutes of flight 93. The 9/11 commission report says that the recording clearly shows the hijackers crashed the plane into the ground to prevent the passengers from taking back the plane. The 9/11 commission report even claims that the passengers didn't get into the cockpit. The surviving family members of the flight 93 passengers however were allowed to hear the recording, and their impression was quite different. Indeed, it seems unlikely that multiple strong passengers could not have smashed open the cockpit door being held only by two or three hijackers. But I am not going to get into that issue in detail here.

Here I will primarily analyze what the passenger phone calls say about the flight 93 revolt.

First off, which passengers even mentioned the revolt?

1) Flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw-- in fact, she boils water to throw at the hijackers

2) Flight attendant CeeCee Lyles

3) Passenger Tom Burnett

4) Passenger Jeremy Glick

5) Passenger Honor Elizabeth Wainio

6) Passenger Todd Beamer

Second, when did the revolt start?

After 9:58am-- CeeCee Lyles calls her husband and says "I think they're going to do it. They're forcing their way into the cockpit."

Just past 10am-- Honor Wainio talks to her step-mom and says: "They're getting ready to break into the cockpit."

Just past 10am-- Jeremy Glick hears that the WTC has collapsed from his wife. Then he decides they will attack the hijackers.

So according to Glick and Wainio, the revolt doesn't start until after 10am. This conflicts badly with Lyles' account that indicates the revolt started before 9:58am. Furthermore, it seems hard to believe the 10:03am crash time. The passengers would have had to be incredibly efficient to get organized and attack so effectively in less than three minutes that the hijackers would have had to crash the plane.

But the oddest part of this is Ed Felt's call-- he calls 911 at 9:58am. This is his first call from the plane and he says nothing of the passenger revolt. Moreover, he seems to be hiding from the hijackers and also hears an explosion and sees smoke from the plane. So Felt's call makes absolutely no sense. Why doesn't he know of the revolt and why did he wait so late to call?

However, there are more clues-- the background sounds the people on the other end heard from the plane.

For instance, Jeremy Glick left the phone on while the attack started, and Glick's father-in-law listening at about 10:01am heard "about one minute of silence. Screams. Then silence. Then screams again."

After CeeCee Lyles says "they're forcing their way into the cockpit", her husband could hear screaming in the background, Cee Cee screamed, and then he heard a whooshing wind-like sound, then more screaming, and the call broke off.

Oddly, BEFORE the passenger revolt, according to the operator talking to Todd Beamer, she heard men and women screaming. But after he left the phone she heard only silence.

Ed Felt's wife heard a lot of background noises that seemed to come and go, like someone listening to the street noises from a ferris wheel, as she described it.

So what was happening is not at all clear. What was the whooshing sound heard by CeeCee Lyles' husband? The plane getting damaged in some way? That would fit with Ed Felt's story but it doesn't fit with Beamer's or Glick's accounts. Why were people screaming? It's not clear-- perhaps the plane was moving violently.

Finally, what happened to the hijacker with a bomb-belt that Todd beamer said was guarding the passengers? No one mentions him in terms of the passenger revolt. No one besides Beamer even mentions him at all. It's frankly hard to imagine that he even existed, since he is ignored by the other passengers and doesn't seem to have caused any trouble for the passengers storming the cockpit.

Basically, none of the accounts really fit together.

Overall, the calls almost suggest the passengers were in different planes. Oddly, this is reminiscient of the calls from the flight 11 attendants Sweeney and Ong. The calls were so different one almost had to imagine two different planes.

Another factor of course is that a few of these calls were made by cell phone, which makes them suspect. Ed Felt was talking by cell phone and his account is so different, one has to think he wasn't even on the plane. Perhaps he was on the ground involved in a terror drill, and then realized the drill was more real than he expected? He seemed more scared than the other passengers.

Well, this has me stumped. If anyone has the answers to my quesitons or has any ideas for how this all fits together let me know.



Blogger allan said...

I think you have an error in this post. You say:

Second, when did the revolt start?

After 9:58am-- CeeCee Lyles calls her husband ...

and then:

So according to Glick and Wainio, the revolt doesn't start until after 10am. This conflicts badly with Lyles' account that indicates the revolt started before 9:58am.

However, you initially said Lyles reports a time after 9:58, not before, which would keep it in line with the other accounts.

And yes, Felt's call is quite a bit different. No doubt that's why it fell out of mainstream coverage, even to the point of his name suddenly becoming unknown.

4:23 PM  
Blogger spooked said...

Thanks for catching that. Part of the problem is we don't know how long the 9:58am call lasted, so really we don't know for sure that the revolt started before 9:58am. They could have talked for a while and then it started at 10:01 or something like that. I had in my notes that Lyles call was at 9:58am and this is the call when she said "they're going to do it". According to Longman she said a few thing before this, but the call couldn't have been that long. So perhaps the revolt started at 10am or so according to Lyles, and who know how accurate her husbands clock was. Thanks for picking up on that.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous said...

Quite helpful piece of writing, thanks so much for your post.

4:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger