8. How did Flight 93 crash in western Pennsylvania?
The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din. We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained.
In response, [Ziad] Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59:52, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates. At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.
Five seconds later, Jarrah asked,"Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" A hijacker responded, "No. Not yet.When they all come, we finish it off." The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down. At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!" Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled, "Roll it!" Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, "Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!" He then asked another hijacker in the cockpit, "Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?" to which the other replied, "Yes, put it in it, and pull it down."
The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23,a hijacker said, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest." With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes' flying time from Washington, D.C.
A second uncertain area is the precise time of impact. US authorities insist that it was 10:03 AM, and the black box recording supports this. At least one phone call, that of Jeremy Glick, also ended at 10:03 AM. The 9/11 Commission also found that the crash occurred at 10:03. It gave the precise time that the plane dived as 10:02:23.
However, seismological stations reportedly recorded a tremor consistent with a plane crash at 10:06 AM (more precisely, 10:06:05). Nothing was recorded at 10:03 AM. The scientist who prepared the report latter told the 9/11 Commission that "seismic data is not definitive for the impact of UA 93." The 9/11 Commision [sic] has stated in its final report, that the seismic data is ..."far too weak in signal-to-noise ratio and far too speculative..." to be substantial.
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