American Airlines Flight 77

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American Airlines Flight 77 was American Airlines' morning, daily scheduled transcontinental flight, from Washington Dulles International Airport, in Dulles, Virginia to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the aircraft flying this route—a Boeing 757-223—was hijacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists and deliberately crashed into the Pentagon, as part of the September 11 attacks.

Less than 35 minutes into the flight, the hijackers stormed the cockpit and forced the passengers to the rear of the aircraft. Hani Hanjour, one of the hijackers who was trained as a pilot, assumed control of the flight. Unknown to the hijackers, passengers aboard were able to make telephone calls to loved ones and relay information on the hijacking.

The aircraft crashed into the western side of the Pentagon at 09:37 EDT. All 64 people on board the aircraft, including the hijackers, and 125 in the building were killed. Dozens of people witnessed the crash and news sources began reporting on the incident within minutes. The impact severely damaged an area of the Pentagon and ignited a large fire. A portion of the Pentagon collapsed and firefighters spent days trying to fully extinguish the blaze. The damaged sections of the Pentagon were rebuilt in 2002, with occupants moving back into the completed areas on August 15, 2002.

The 184 victims of the attack are memorialized in the Pentagon Memorial adjacent to the Pentagon. The 1.93-acre (7,800 m2) park consists of 184 benches, one for each of the victims, arranged according to their year of birth, ranging from 1930 (aged 71) to 1998 (aged 3).

Contents

Hijackers

The hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77 were led by Hani Hanjour, who piloted the aircraft into the Pentagon.[1] Hanjour first came to the United States in 1990.[2] He trained at the CRM Airline Training Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, earning his FAA commercial pilot's certificate in April 1999.[3] He had wanted to be a commercial pilot for the Saudi national airline but was rejected when he applied to the civil aviation school in Jeddah in 1999. Hanjour's brother later explained that, frustrated at not finding a job, Hanjour "increasingly turned his attention toward religious texts and cassette tapes of militant Islamic preachers".[4] Hanjour left Saudi Arabia in late 1999, telling his family that he was going to the United Arab Emirates to work for an airline.[5] Instead, Hanjour likely ended up in Afghanistan where Al Qaeda recruits were screened for special skills they may have. Already having selected the Hamburg Cell members, Al Qaeda leaders selected Hanjour to lead the fourth team of hijackers.[6]

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