ON September 11, 2001, 40 people on board Flight 93 were killed when a hijacked United flight crashed into a field near Stonycreek Township in Pennsylvania.
United Flight 93 was the fourth hijacked plane on 9/11; the other three crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Who was Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer?
Of the four seized flights, United Airlines Flight 93 was the only aircraft that did not reach its hijackers' intended target.
Among the passengers aboard Flight 93 on 9/11 was Todd Beamer, 32, a software salesman for Oracle.
Beamer was born in 1968 in Flint, Michigan, and attended college at Wheaton College in Illinois.
He met his wife, Lisa, at Wheaton in 1991 and married in 1994.
They were active in their church, teaching Sunday school together as Beamer played softball for the church’s team.
According to his wife, he played baseball and captained the basketball team.
In a memoir, Beamer’s wife Lisa recalled that Beamer once played a soccer game with a broken jaw.
On September 11, 2001, Beamer was heading to a business meeting in San Francisco when he got on a United Airlines flight at Newark Aiport in New Jersey.
The 32-year-old was set to fly right back later that evening to come home to his pregnant wife and their two young boys, Drew and David.
However, terrorists took control of the plan 46 minutes into the flight. “We have a bomb on board, so sit,” they announced to the cabin, as the destination for the plane was changed to Washington DC.
Unlike frantic passengers on board,Beamer remained poised under extreme pressure.
What happened to him on Flight 93?
As some passengers were able to call family and friends, it became known to the travelers that the World Trade Center had been hit by two planes and that another one had struck the Pentagon in Virginia.
Beamer called Airfone operator Lisa Jefferson and was able to describe the plane's direction and the timeline of events.
Jefferson and Beamer recited the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 as other passengers joined in.
Remaining calm throughout the call, Beamer’s voice became slightly higher as the plane started to dive.
“Lisa, Lisa!” he said.
“I’m still here, Todd,” Jefferson answered. “I’ll be here as long as you are.”
Beamer and a group of passengers and flight attendants huddled and voted to try to storm the cockpit.
“If I don’t make it, please call my family and let them know how much I love them,” he told Jefferson.
“Are you ready? Okay, let’s roll,” she heard Beamer tell the others.
Jefferson said that was the last thing she heard Beamer say.
“His voice was devoid of any stress,” Jefferson later said. “In fact, he sounded so tranquil it made me begin to doubt the authenticity and urgency of his call.”
Flight 93 never reached the nation's capital.
Twenty years later, the objective of the hijackers aboard Flight 93 remains 9/11’s greatest mystery.
9/11 timeline of events
The 9/11 terror attacks occurred 20 years ago. Here is a timeline of the day:
- 5:45am – Hijackers get through security in Portland, Maine and board American Airlines Flight 11 that was scheduled to fly to Boston.
- 7:59am – American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston to Los Angeles. The plane is carrying 76 passengers, 11 crew and five hijackers.
- 8:15am – United Airlines Flight 175, carrying 51 passengers, nine crew and five hijackers, takes off from Boston to Los Angeles.
- 8:20am -American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington, DC. The plane is carrying 53 passengers, six crew and five hijackers.
- 8:42am – United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark. The plane is carrying 33 passengers, seven crew and four hijackers. The flight was bound to San Francisco.
- 8:46am – Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
- 9:03am – Flight 175 hits the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
- 9:36am – Vice President Dick Cheney is evacuated by Secret Service agents to an undisclosed location.
- 9:37am – Flight 77 hits the Pentagon building in Washington, DC.
- 9:45am – The US Capitol and White House are both evacuated.
- 9:59am – The South Tower was the first to collapse after burning for around 56 minutes.
- 10:03am – United Airlines flight 93 crashes into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers and crew got together and stormed the cockpit of the hijacked plane. All passengers on board are killed.
- 10:28am – The North Tower collapses.
- 8:30pm – President George W. Bush addresses the US from the White House regarding the attacks. Almost 3,000 Americans died in the terror attacks.
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