BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Americas
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
'I know we're all going to die'
Terrorist attack victim Mark Bingham
Mark Bingham told his mother he loved her
Terrified passengers on board the planes hijacked in the US terrorist attacks made frantic phone calls to their families before crashing.

Mark Bingham, 31, who was on Flight 93 which crashed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, rang his mother minutes before the impact.

Alice Hoglan broke down as she told reporters: "He said: 'I want you to know that I love you very much and I'm calling from the plane.

Mark Bingham's mother Alice Hoglan breaks down
Mother Alice Hoglan: I asked him who they were

"He said: 'I'm in the air. I'm calling on the air phone of the airplane. We've been taken over, there are three men that say they have a bomb.'

"And I said: 'Who are they?' And he repeated that he loves me and I think he said 'I don't know who they are'.

"He became distracted there, as if someone else was speaking to him. He said something to the effect that it was true... and then the phone went dead."

Flight attendant CeeCee Ross-Lyles, also on Flight 93, called her husband at home in Fort Myers, Florida, according to her aunt.

"She called him and let him know how much she loved him and the boys," Maria Schneider said.

CeeCee Ross-Lyles, a flight attendant for United Airlines, pictured with her two children Jerome, left, and Jevon
Flight attendant CeeCee Ross-Lyles said she loved her husband and sons

As people screamed in the background, Ms Ross-Lyles sobbed: "We've been hijacked," and the phone went dead.

An unnamed passenger on the same flight locked himself in one of the plane's lavatories and called 911.

Dispatchers who answered the phone said he repeatedly said: "We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked, this is not a hoax."

"He heard some sort of explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane and we lost contact with him," said Westmoreland dispatcher Glenn Cramer.

Thwarted by passengers

Businessman Thomas Burnett of San Ramon, California, called his wife, the family's priest told reporters.

I know we're all going to die - there's three of us who are going to do something about it

Mr Burnett, a 38-year-old father of three, told his wife Deena that one passenger already had been stabbed to death.

The Reverend Frank Colacicco described how Mr Burnett said: "I know we're all going to die - there's three of us who are going to do something about it."

Then he told his wife: "I love you, honey," and the call ended.

A senior U.S. intelligence official told that mobile phone communications from Flight 93 indicate that three passengers overpowered the hijackers but were unable to maintain control of the plane.

The official said that U.S. counterintelligence experts are speculating that the hijackers intended to turn the plane around and crash it into another target but were thwarted by the passengers.

On that plane, a pilot secretly turned on the microphone, allowing passengers to hear everything that was being said by the terrorists a warning that may have prompted some passengers to attempt an act of heroism that presumably saved another national landmark.

Cockpit coversation overheard

CNN commentator Barbara Olson was on board the American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon in Washington.

She called her husband, senior Justice Department official Theodore Olson, to tell him the plane had been hijacked.

"They had knives... they rounded up the passengers and the pilots in the back of the plane," she said.

CNN commentator Barbara Olson
CNN commentator Barbara Olson: "What do I tell the pilot to do?"
Her last words before she was cut off were: "What do I tell the pilots to do?"

Businessman Peter Hanson, who was with his wife and baby on the United Airlines flight 175 that hit the World Trade Center, called his father in Connecticut.

Despite being cut off twice, he managed to report how men armed with knives were stabbing flight attendants, apparently in an attempt to force crew to unlock the doors to the cockpit.

"A stewardess has been stabbed... the plane is going down," he said, before being cut off.

The BBC's Mike Baker
"They frantically tried to reach loved ones by mobile phone"
Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Americas stories