Phone Calls from Flight 93

When United Airlines Flight 93 was hijacked, thirteen passengers and crew members responded by placing phone calls to the authorities, to United Airlines, and to their family members and friends. According to the FBI, thirty-seven phone calls were placed from on board Flight 93 between 9:28 when the plane was hijacked until the time of the crash at 10:03. Thirty-five of these calls were made on the Airfones located on the back of the seats in the last nine rows of the plane. Credit card records reveal the time of the call, Airfone caller’s name, the number or numbers dialed, the duration of the call, and the row from which the call was placed. These phone records were entered as evidence during the sentencing trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the series of calls from the flight provided vital information both to the ground and to the passengers. Calls from on board the plane revealed that:

  • the plane had been hijacked

  • the hijackers wielded knives

  • the hijackers had entered the cockpit

  • the hijackers had a bomb

  • the hijackers wore red bandanas

  • the passengers were forced to the back of the aircraft

  • a passenger had been stabbed (reported by at least two callers) and the victim had died (reported by one)

  • two individuals were lying on the floor of the aircraft injured or dead, possibly the captain and first officer

  • a flight attendant had been killed

Through these phone calls, the passengers and crew learned that:

  • The World Trade Center Towers were struck by two commercial airliners

  • The Pentagon was struck by a commercial airliner

A chronological listing of the phone calls made between 9:28 and 10:03 appears below, including transcripts of three of the calls which were recorded. All times are in Eastern Daylight Time. Unless noted, the calls were made on Airfones. Information sources are cited in this manner:

  • Notes from interviews conducted by FBI agents with those who received calls

  • Evidence presented at the Moussaoui trial

  • Notes from the published report of the 9/11 Commission, Third Monograph or Memoranda for the Record prepared by the 9/11 Commission Staff

All information based on the best available data and evidence. Direct transcripts are noted. Quoted content is cited. Most of the quoted material comes from FBI reports and notes, but is not a direct transcript of a recording unless specifically noted as such.

Click on the dropdown boxes for more information regarding each phone call

 
Passenger Tom Burnett phoned his wife, Deena, and spoke for 28 seconds.  According to the FBI, Burnett was speaking in a quiet voice and asked his wife if she had heard about any other planes.  Deena Burnett advised her husband that two planes had flown into the World Trade Center.  Thomas Burnett asked if they were commercial planes.  Deena Burnett responded that the planes were unidentified at the time.  Deena Burnett stated it seemed that her husband knew other flights had crashed into the World Trade Center, although this was never specifically brought up.  Thomas Burnett mentioned during this conversation that the hijackers were talking about flying the plane into the ground, location not specified.   (FBI and Trial Evidence)
 
Unidentified Flight Attendant phoned United Airlines at their Speed Dial Fix number.  This is a number that flight crews know to call in order to report mechanical and systems problems, obtain advice on troubleshooting, and request maintenance while in flight. The call was connected for 2 seconds.  (Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Unidentified Flight Attendant phoned United Airlines at their Speed Dial Fix number.   The call was connected for 95 seconds.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Flight Attendant Sandy Bradshaw called the Speed Dial Fix number at the United Airlines maintenance facility in San Francisco and spoke for 5 minutes and 53 seconds.  Her call was first answered by a United maintenance employee and was subsequently taken over by the manager at the facility.  The manager described the flight attendant as “shockingly calm”.  According to the 9/11 Commission:

"the flight attendant, reporting from the back of the plane, told the maintenance employees that hijackers were in the cabin behind the first-class curtain and in the cockpit.  They had announced they had a bomb on the plane.  The hijackers had pulled a knife.  They had killed a flight attendant.  The manager reported the emergency to his supervisor, who passed the information to the United Air Lines crisis center.  The manager then instructed the air phone operator to try and reestablish contact with the plane, but the effort was unsuccessful."  (FBI, Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Unidentified Flight Attendant phoned United Airlines at their Speed Dial Fix number.  The call was connected for 4 seconds.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Unidentified Flight Attendant phoned United Airlines at their Speed Dial Fix number.  The call was connected for 4 seconds.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Mark Bingham dialed the number of his aunt’s house in California where his mother, Alice Hoagland, was staying.  The call was connected for 5 seconds.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Mark Bingham dialed the same number and this time spoke first with a family friend, then with his aunt and finally with his mother, Alice Hoagland.  FBI agents interviewed Bingham’s aunt and mother and recorded these notes: 

“When she [the Aunt] answered the phone, the caller was Bingham.  Bingham said, ‘This is Mark.  I just want to tell you I’m on a plane and it’s being hijacked.’  [The Aunt] then got a piece of paper and asked Bingham what flight he was on.  Bingham replied, ‘United Flight 93’ . . . .When [Hoagland] got on the phone [Bingham] said . . . .‘This is Mark Bingham.’  (he stated both his first and last names) followed by, ‘I want to let you know I love you.  I love you all . . . . I’m on a flight from Newark to San Francisco and there are three guys who have taken over the plane, and they say they have a bomb.  I’m calling you from the air phone.’  [Hoagland] then asked, ‘Who are they, Mark?’  [Bingham] was distracted and did not answer.  [Hoagland] was not sure if [Bingham] had heard the question.  There was an interruption for approximately five seconds.  Bingham then stated to his mother, ‘You’ve got to believe me.  It’s true.’  [Hoagland] responded, ‘I do believe you, Mark.  Who are they?’  There was another approximate five-second pause, similar to the first, wherein [Hoagland] heard activity and voices in the background.  People were murmuring.  There were no screams.  [Hoagland] got the impression that [Bingham] was distracted because someone was speaking to him.  Then the phone went dead.” 

According to Hoagland’s interview with the FBI, Bingham “sounded calm, controlled, matter-of-fact, and focused” throughout the call.  The call was connected for 2 minutes, 46 seconds.  When the call ended, Alice Hoagland dialed 911 to report what had occurred.  She eventually was connected to the FBI.  (FBI, Trial Evidence, and 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Jeremy Glick dialed the number of his mother-in-law’s home where his wife was staying.  The FBI, interviewing the family on September 12, 2001, reported this:

Jeremy initially spoke [to his mother-in-law, Joanne Makely], and immediately asked to speak to his wife, Lyzbeth.  After giving the telephone to Lyzbeth, [Makely] contacted 911 via her cellular telephone.  Jeremy first told  Lyzbeth, that he loved her and then said that Flight #93 had been hijacked by three ‘Iranian-looking’ males, with dark skin and bandanas (ethnic types opposed to hippie type) on their heads.  One of the males stated that he was in possession of a bomb in a red box and one was armed with a knife . . . .  Jeremy advised Lyzbeth that the hijackers had herded the passengers into the rear of the plane and told them . . . that they were going to blow-up the plane . . . . The three hijackers then entered the cockpit of the plane . . . . Jeremy advised Lyzbeth that he and four other male passengers were contemplating ‘rushing’ the hijackers and asked Lyzbeth if that was okay with her.  Lyzbeth told Jeremy that she did not know if that was okay and asked Jeremy if any of the hijackers had guns, to which Jeremy replied they did not.  In a joking manner, as if [to] ease Lyzbeth’s concern, Jeremy advised that he and approximately four other male passengers were ‘going to get the butter knives’.  Jeremy then, seriously, told Lyzbeth that he and the other males were organizing to ‘rush’ the hijackers.  Jeremy told Lyzbeth that he loved her and asked her not to hang up the telephone.

The couple spoke for 20 minutes. The 9/11 Commission report states that Glick said that “the passengers were voting on whether to storm the cockpit and retake control of the plane.”  Lyz Glick kept the phone line open for a total of 126 minutes.  (FBI, Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Tom Burnett again called his wife, Deena, connecting for 62 seconds.  The report from the FBI interview with Deena on 9/11/01 states that Burnett said,

"the passenger that had been knifed had died.  He told her ‘they’ were in the cockpit.  She asked her husband to sit still.  Thomas Burnett asked his wife, who previously worked in the airline industry, what was the probability of a bomb being on board the plane.  Deena did not respond and Thomas Burnett stated he did not think they had a bomb because he did not see one; only knives.”  (FBI, Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Lauren Grandcolas called her husband, Jack, and left a message on their home answering machine, saying that the flight had been hijacked.  The call was connected for 46 seconds.  A transcript of this call has not been released.  After FBI agents interviewed Jack on September 12, 2001 and listened to her recorded message, they wrote these notes: 

Lauren’s message indicated that there were problems on the flight (Flight 93) but she reassured him that everything was alright.  Her voice was very calm and there were no audible background noises.  Lauren told [Jack] numerous times in the message that she loved him.   Lauren also told [Jack] to advise her family that she loved them.  Lauren then told [Jack] goodbye and the call ended.  (FBI, Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Lauren Grandcolas attempted to call another number but the call was terminated upon connection. (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Mark Bingham attempted to phone his mother again, but the call was terminated upon connection.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Lauren Grandcolas dialed her residence again, but the call was connected for only 4 seconds. (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Mark Bingham misdialed a number and was connected for 3 seconds. (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Lauren Grandcolas made three more attempts in less than one minute to phone her residence, but the calls lasted only 2, 3, and 2 seconds, respectively.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Joseph DeLuca phoned his father.  The call lasted 14 seconds.  (Trial Evidence and 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Todd Beamer twice phoned AT&T, but the calls were terminated upon connection.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Joseph DeLuca phoned his father, informing him that his flight had been hijacked.  The call lasted 2 minutes, 10 seconds.   (Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Lauren Grandcolas attempted to phone her sister, but the call was terminated upon connection. (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Todd Beamer dialed his wife, but the call was terminated upon connection.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Todd Beamer contacted GTE Airfone operators.  His connection lasted for the remainder of the flight.  According to the 9/11  Commission Report, Beamer’s call provided the following information:

“the flight had been hijacked, and the captain and first officer were lying on the floor of the first-class cabin and were injured or possibly dead.  One of the hijackers had a red belt with a bomb strapped to his waist.  Two of the hijackers, who had knives, entered the cockpit and closed the door behind them.  At some point the hijackers closed the curtain between first class and coach so that passengers could not see into first class; those in the rear of the plane were not being monitored by the hijackers.  The plane was going up and down and had turned or changed direction.  He and some other passengers were planning something and he was going to put the phone down.”   

Notes made by the FBI following their interviews with the phone operators include this additional information:  The first GTE/Airfone operator said that,

“Beamer asked if he could be connected with his wife, or if that was not possible, if a message could be passed to his wife telling her that he loved her.”  The second GTE/Airfone operator said she could hear “screams, prayers, exclamations, and talk of subduing the highjackers...At approximately 9 am CST (10 am EST), Beamer said that the passengers were about to attack the highjackers.” 

The operator kept the connection open for another twenty minutes without hearing anything, at which time she disconnected the call.  (FBI, Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Tom Burnett phoned his wife.  The call was connected for 54 seconds.  According to notes from the interview that FBI agents conducted with Deena Burnett on September 11, 2001,

“Burnett told her, ‘a group of us are getting ready to do something’ and he may not speak to her again.” (FBI, Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Waleska Martinez dialed a friend’s Manhattan office, but the call was terminated upon connection. (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Linda Gronlund phoned her sister and left a message on her home answering machine.  The call was connected for 71 seconds.  An FBI transcript of the call follows:

“It’s Lynn.  Um.  I only have a minute.  I’m on United 93 and it’s been hijacked, uh, by terrorists who say they have a bomb.  Apparently, they, uh, flown a couple of planes into the World Trade Center already and it looks like they’re going to take this one down as well.  Mostly, I just wanted to say I love you . . . and . . . I’m going to miss you . . . and . . . and please give my love to Mom and Dad, and (sigh) mostly, I just love you and I just wanted to tell you that.  I don’t know if I’m going to get the chance to tell you that again or not.  (sigh) Um. . . (unintelligible)  All my stuff is in the safe.  The uh, the safe is in my closet in my bedroom.  The combination is:  you push C for clear and then 0-9-1-3 and then, uh, and then it should . . . and maybe pound and then it should unlock.  (sigh)  I love you and I hope that I can talk to you soon.  Bye. (FBI, Trial Evidence)
 
Flight Attendant CeeCee Lyles called her husband and left a message on their home answering machine.  The call was connected for 56 seconds.  A transcript of the call follows: 

“Hi, Baby.  I’m . . . Baby, you have to listen to me carefully.  I’m on a plane that’s been hijacked.  I’m on the plane.  I’m calling from the plane.  I want to tell you I love you.  Please tell my children that I love them very much and I’m so sorry, babe.  Umm.  I don’t know what to say.  There’s three guys.  They’ve hijacked the plane.  I’m trying to be calm.  We’re turned around and I’ve heard that there’s planes that’s been, been flown into the World Trade Center.  I hope to be able to see your face again, baby.  I love you.  Good-bye.” (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Joseph DeLuca dialed a friend, Atwell Haines, but the call was terminated upon connection.  (Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Marion Britton phoned a friend, Fred Fuimano.  FBI agents interviewed Fuimano following the call and reported the substance of their conversation: 

“Britton said her plane was hijacked and to take down the phone number.  [Fuimano] told her not to worry because they would probably just take her to some other country.  Britton said the hijackers had cut two passengers throats.  [Fuimano said] that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, and Britton responded that she knew.  Britton said they were turning and going to crash.  [Fuimano] then heard a lot of screaming and then the phone went dead.” 

The call was connected for 3 minutes, 52 seconds. (FBI, Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Flight Attendant Sandy Bradshaw phoned her husband, but the call was terminated upon connection (Trial Evidence)
 
Flight Attendant Sandy Bradshaw phoned her husband, Phil,  to report the emergency.  The call lasted 7 minutes, 50 seconds.  FBI agents interviewed Phil on 9/11/01 and recorded these facts about the call: 

“Sandra asked Bradshaw if he had seen what happened today.  Bradshaw told Sandra that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.  Sandra then told Bradshaw that her plane had been hijacked.   She continued to state that the plane had been hijacked by three men with dark skin, and Sandra stated ‘they almost looked Islamic’.  One of the hijackers was seated in first class and Sandra actually looked at him, this hijacker was ‘a little short guy’.  The other hijackers were seated in the back of the plane.  Sandra only saw the hijackers carrying knives as weapons.  All three of the hijackers put red headbands on their heads as they were hijacking the plane.  Additionally, Sandra did not know the location of the plane but she thought that the plane might be around the Mississippi River because they had just passed over a river . . . Sandra told Bradshaw that the passengers were getting hot water out of the galley and were going to rush the hijackers.  At the end of the telephone call, Sandra told Bradshaw that everyone was running up to first class and she hung up the telephone.” (FBI, Trial Evidence, 9/11 Commission)
 
Passenger Honor Elizabeth Wainio phoned her stepmother and told her that the plane had been hijacked.  The call lasted 4 minutes, 29 seconds.  According to her stepmother, Elizabeth expressed concern for her family, saying,

"This is going to be harder on you, and I want you to be okay.”   At the end of the call, Elizabeth said, "They're getting ready to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you.  Good-bye.", and she hung up. (FBI, Trial Evidence, family statement)
 
Flight Attendant CeeCee Lyles used her cell phone to call her husband, Lorne.  According to notes from the FBI agents who interviewed Lorne on September 12, 2001, CeeCee said,

“‘Babe, my plane is being hijacked.  My plane is being hijacked.  Babe, they are forcing their way into the cockpit.  They forced their way into the cockpit.  Babe, I called to tell you I love you, tell the kids that I love them.  Oh Lord, it feels like the plane is going down.’  Thereafter, [Lorne] heard screaming in the background and the phone went dead.”  (FBI, Trial Evidence)
 
Passenger Edward Felt used a cell phone to dial 911 and was connected for 70 seconds with the Westmoreland County 911 Center, Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety in Greensburg, PA.  The FBI transcript of the call follows: 

Caller:  “Highjacking in pro----”
911:     “Excuse me?  Hey somebody’s reporting a—”
Caller:  “Highjacking in progress.”
911:     “Sir I’m losing you, where are you at?”
Caller:  “United flight 93.”
911:     “Wait a minute, wait, United—night flight—United flight. United flight 93.”
Caller:  “Hijacking in progress!”
911:     “Okay, where you at up?  Where are you at up?”
Caller:  “I’m in the bathroom, United flight 93.”
911:     “Okay, where are you at?”
Caller:  “I don’t know.”
911:     “Where are you at?”
Caller:  “I don’t know where the plane is.”
911:     “Where did you take off at?”
Caller:  “Newark to San Francisco.”
911:     “Newark to San Francisco.”
Caller:  “United flight 93.”
911:     “I got it, okay stay on the phone with me sir.”
Caller:  “I’m trying to . . . (unintelligible) at the bathroom.  I don’t know what’s going on.”
911:      “Hey somebody get the FAA, Newark to San Francisco and they got a highjacking in progress.  Okay, yeah.  Dude, get somebody from the airport on the line.  This is a highjacking in progress.  Are you still there sir?”
Caller:  “Yes I am.”
911:     “What’s your name sir?”
Caller:  “EDWARD FELT.”
911:     “EDWARD FELT?  What’s your phone number sir?”
Caller:  “[Phone number redacted]”
911:     “Go ahead.”
Caller:  “[Phone number redacted]”
911:     “Go ahead”
Caller:  “[Phone number redacted]”
911:     “How big of a plane sir?”
Caller:  “It’s like a seven-fifty-seven (757).”
911:      “This is a seven-fifty-seven (757).  Hey we need.  It’s a seven-fifty-seven (757).  Sir, sir?”
Caller:  “Yes.”
911:     “Okay, how many peoples on the plane?”
Caller:  “It was—it was pretty empty, maybe (unintelligible).”
911:      “Can you still hear me sir, sir, sir can you still hear me?  It’s over (unintelligible).  There’s a plane . . . said the plane’s going down.  It’s over Mt. Pleasant Township somewhere.  Sir?  It’s going down.  You better make an announcement on (unintelligible).  It’s over Mt. Pleasant somewhere.  Hello?” (call terminated)   (FBI)
 
Dorothy Garcia, wife of passenger Andrew "Sonny" Garcia received a phone call at her California home and heard the single word, “Dorothy” before the call was disconnected.  She believes that the cell phone call was placed by her husband on board Flight 93.  (family statement)

Last updated: August 22, 2021

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