Repost from another thread (thanks, nix). Father of three helped crash Pa. plane.
September 12, 2001 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Repost from another thread (thanks, nix). Father of three helped crash Pa. plane.

HEROIC ACT. FATHER AND HUSBAND TAKES ACTION ON FLIGHT, ULTIMATELY SAVES MORE LIVES.

"The Miami Herald reported in Wednesday’s editions that a passenger on Flight 93, Tom Burnett, 38, the vice president of a Pleasanton, Calif., medical devices company and father of three children, called his wife and indicated that he and other passengers were about to try to overpower the hijackers. Burnett told his wife that somebody on the plane had been stabbed, said the Rev. Frank Colacicco, of St. Isidore’s Church in Danville, Fla. “We’re all gonna die, but three of us are going to do something,” Burnett told his wife, according to Colacicco. He added: “I love you, honey,” before the call ended."
posted by Sinner (17 comments total)


 
When I saw that the PA plane had gone down short of its target (presumably), I thought that something like this might have happened. I said "Someone's a hero, and we'll never know who." Maybe now we do.
posted by jpoulos at 9:52 AM on September 12, 2001


Wow! I want to thank Rev. Frank Colacicco and the other two passengers for doing what they did.
posted by crog at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2001


The three planes which hit their targets were no doubt meant by the terrorists to be symbolic and demoralizing. I hope to God that the lesson we take from this is that it's easy to destroy buildings, but people don't give up as easily.
posted by Hildago at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2001


There was some speculation that the pilot (or whomever) buried the throttle and nosed the plane down into a terminal dive.

(It's human nature to look for connections to your own world, so I do have to mention that the vice president in question was from a company whose web site we just redid.)

There are so many things that suggest people made decisions you'd never want to have to make. It sucks and its inhuman. For every person who wants to tell us "Now you know what it's like," give it a few days, huh?
posted by yerfatma at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2001


I think Colacicco was just a spokeman for the guy's wife, who probably didn't want her name to be known.
posted by Hildago at 10:11 AM on September 12, 2001


I wonder why this didnt happen on more of the flights? All the reports say that the hijackers told the passengers they were all going to die. If you are going to die, why not drag them down with you?
posted by Irontom at 10:38 AM on September 12, 2001


One possibility: they were incapacitated. I heard rumors of people being maced (unconfirmed but I've seen this in a number of places). Others (unconfirmed, and less reliable) of people being killed.

Another possibility: is that not all of the planes' passengers knew they were going to die. They might have been told that the plane was just being redirected to another country. This seems unlikely, though, since it would stand to reason that in coordinated attacks like these, the hijackers would have all used the same strategies/techniques.

To take the kind of action that Mr. Burnett et al are alleged to have taken requires knowing you were going to die AND choosing not to take others with you. Just thinking you were going to die is not necessarily enough, I don't think.
posted by Sinner at 10:50 AM on September 12, 2001


All the hijackers *did* go down with all the people they killed.

I can't imagine any of those passengers knew that the hijackers were planning to use their planes as weapons to kill many more people. Especially since we're hearing from flight crews that were ordered to land that no one told them why. No one in the sky knew what was happening all over the Northeast.

Except perhaps the people on UAL 175, who must have seen the smoke coming from the first tower strike long before they became the second.

So, I think it would be a natural response to hope, to pray, that "you're all going to die" was a threat, a demand for compliance. They couldn't know (unless the hijackers told them? that would be effectively cruel but also stupid, as it'd be asking for a hostage uprising) that the choices weren't between death and at least a shot at life, or death for *just* them and death for a whole lot more people.

Probably there were a lot of heroes on those four planes, people who did all they could, that we'll never hear anything about. It may be that someone on Flight 93 saved the life of someone I love.
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:52 AM on September 12, 2001


"and take them with you"

I was referring to the hijackers. Thinking that I was going to die would be enough. If I have to die because of some fanatic, then said fanatic has to come with me - preferably with my hands locked around his throat.
posted by Irontom at 10:58 AM on September 12, 2001


One speculation, and that's all it is at this point, that I saw on the news last night was that perhaps the pilot put the plane into a dive simply to try and knock the terrorist off balance, and give someone the opportunity to disarm/kill him. Obviously, if this is true, the pilot was unable to recover.

One other thing I heard last night is that pilots are trained to comply with terrorists. In almost all aircraft hijackings, no innocent people end up dying. In those that due, it is usually due to botched rescue attempts, not terrorist action.

Naturally, none of the pilots which commanded the planes that flew into the WTC and the Pentagon could have ever reasonably assumed what was to happen to them. They would have cooperated with the hijackers until it became obvious what their plans were.
posted by thewittyname at 11:00 AM on September 12, 2001


"In those that do...it is usually due to botched rescue attempts, not terrorist action."

do'h
posted by thewittyname at 11:02 AM on September 12, 2001


Now that this new weapon of terrorism is known, expect such complacency on the pilot's side to be a thing of the past.
posted by linux at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2001


also, since the reported evidence and resulting speculation points to trained pilots among the hijackers, the legitimate pilots were probably replaced and held with the rest of the passengers, having even less ability to intervene if intentions became clear.

maybe the hostages of the PA crashed flight overwhelmed their captors. maybe the captors had told them their intentions by then, maybe bragging about preliminary reports. mabye the hostages had even heard what was happening via cell phone and put two and two together. maybe they took out the captors in the passenger compartment, stormed the cabin, and the captor pilot crashed the plane.

these are wild speculations, but it seems a plausible scenario, at any rate.
posted by Sean Meade at 11:10 AM on September 12, 2001


This account seems too good to be true, and I have yet to see it referenced on television. One would have to be inhuman not to HOPE it were true, however...
posted by rushmc at 12:05 PM on September 12, 2001


I saw this story on ... CNN? MSNBC? last night. The guy was on the phone to his wife and said that he and three other passengers were going to do something ... which she took to mean overwhelm the attackers.
posted by Johannahh at 1:15 PM on September 12, 2001


Latest twist on this story. More heroism!

Just saw on CNN. Another man called his family from this plane. They conferenced in 911 from his family's phone. His family and 911 informed the man on the flight that one plane had already been purposefully plowed into the WTC.

The man put the phone down and then came back to his family. He told them that the men on board we told that information and then took a vote. They voted that they were going to over power the hi-jackers.

This is a different man than the last one reported.

Can you imagine. It seems confirmed now that they knew their fate, based on the report from his family on the phone. Then they voted to DO something.

American bravery stepping up to the plate.
posted by nix at 1:49 PM on September 12, 2001


Mindblowing. Chilling. Life-affirming, yet terribly sad. Heroes indeed.
posted by rushmc at 8:08 PM on September 12, 2001


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