At least 6 eyewitnesses saw a military-style jet in the vicinity of Flight 93 on the morning of September 11, just before it crashed into the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But the U.S. government denies this 2nd jet ever existed. We?ve been told Flight 93 crashed because the passengers, having learned about the other 911 hijackings on their cellphones, rose up and overcame the terrorists, who were trying to aim the plane at either the White House of the Capitol building. The 40 passengers and crew aboard, as well as the 4 hijackers, were killed. "Let's roll," Todd Beamer's last words on his cellphone before he and the other passengers overcame the hijackers, has become the rallying cry for our assault on terrorism.
Witness Susan Mcelwain, who lives two miles from the crash site, says, "(A white military jet) came right over me, I reckon just 40 or 50 feet above my mini-van. It was so low I ducked instinctively. It was traveling real fast, but hardly made any sound. Then it disappeared behind some trees. A few seconds later I heard this great explosion and saw this fireball rise up over the trees, so I figured the jet had crashed. The ground really shook. So I dialed 911 and told them what happened. I'd heard nothing about the other attacks and it was only when I got home and saw the TV that I realized it wasn't the white jet, but Flight 93. I didn't think much more about it until the authorities started to say there had been no other plane.
Could the military jet have been sent to shoot down the airliner before it could cause the kind of havoc that destroyed the World Trade Center? As was said in the last Unknowncountry.com newsletter, "This jet may have been following the flight, or it may have shot it down on presidential orders-- obviously one of the most heart-rending decisions any president would ever have had to make."
If such a decision was made, why keep it secret? We can understand why questions about the crash of TWA Flight 800 have never been answered--if the military was conducting "war games" and accidentally shot down a civilian plane, they might not want to admit it. But this is a decision we can understand.
Lee Purbaugh was the only person to see the last seconds of Flight 93 as it came down on a former strip-mine at 10:06 am, and he also saw the white jet. He was working less than half a mile away, at the Rollock scrapyard, which overlooks the crash site. "I heard this real loud noise coming over my head," he says. "I looked up and it was Flight 93, barely 50 feet above me. It was coming down in a 45 degree and rocking from side to side. Then the nose suddenly dipped and it just crashed into the ground. There was this big fireball and then a huge cloud of smoke. Yes, there was another plane. I didn't get a good look but it was white and it circled the area about twice and then it flew off over the horizon."
Tom Spinelli was working at nearby India Lake Marina. "I saw the white plane," he says. "It was flying around all over the place like it was looking for something. I saw it before and after the crash." Debris from the crash rained down on the lake, which would not have happened if there was no midair explosion and the plane was intact when it crashed. "It was mainly mail, bits of in-flight magazine and scraps of seat cloth," Tom says. "The authorities say it was blown here by the wind." But that's unlikely, since there was only a 10 mph breeze at that time and the lake was a mile and a half away.
Military officials were told about the suspected hijacking at 9:16 am, 50 minutes before the plane crashed. At 9:35 am, they would have decided it was heading for Washington D.C., after it made in a 180 degree turn. An anonymous flight controller says that an F-16 was "in hot pursuit" of Flight 93. A few minutes before the crash, pilot Bill Wright, flying a single-engine Piper, could see Flight 93 three miles away, but was suddenly told by air traffic control to turn away and land immediately, with no explanation. The last seconds of the cockpit voice recorder are the loud sounds of wind, meaning there could have been hole in the fuselage.
The FBI's explanation for the white jet is that a passing civilian Fairchild Falcon 20 jet was asked to descend from 34,000 feet to 5,000 feet minutes after the crash to give co- ordinates for the site. However, the plane and pilot have never been produced or identified, and Mcelwain says a Falcon 20 is not the plane she saw.
At 9:22 am, a sonic boom was picked up by an earthquake monitoring station in southern Pennsylvania, 60 miles from Shanksville, that could have been produced by a supersonic military jet. The type of commercial plane that produces a sonic boom is not allowed to fly over the continental United States.
There's no shame in shooting down a passenger plane, even if it killed 40 of our own citizens, if doing so saved our seat of government and prevented a much greater loss of life. The passengers were doomed anyway--there was no way to save them once the hijackers were in control of the plane. Therefore, there's no reason to keep the truth from us.
Another, similar piece of disinformation has been put forth by our government recently: We're now being told that Iraq is supporting al-Qaeda, even though we were told the opposite in the past. Again, we've been given no supporting details. Surely it's not necessary to try to fool the American public in this way in order to try to get them to support the coming war. Most of us realize that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy who needs to be taken out--the only question is: What price will we pay to do it? Some of us think the price of conflict may be too high and we should not go to war, while others think we should invade Iraq. Either way, we don't need to be fed disinformation in order to make up our minds. That's insulting to our collective intelligence.
Did the government hide the truth from us about Flight 93 in order to turn the passengers into heroes who would inspire us to fight against al-Qaeda? Again, this underestimates the American public. When we saw the Twin Towers fall (and knew it could have been us or our loved ones inside them), we knew we were under attack and we?re ready to fight back.
We don't need any extra incentive.
Because no matter what really happened on September 11, the passengers of Flight 93 are still heroes. They realized what their duty was and they were ready to do it. Whether or not they were actually the ones responsible for preventing the plane from hitting Washington is not what matters. When soldiers go into battle, some kill the opposing forces, some conquer enemy territory, some save civilians or fellow soldiers, and some are killed before they have a chance to do any of these things. But they're all heroes.
For excellent information about Flight 93, click here and here.
NOTE: This Diary entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.