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New York, Washington Targeted by Suspected Terrorist Attacks

September 11, 2001

Note: Due to the unique, unprecedented series of events that occurred in the United States today, we are reposting content from various global news sources to assist OWU constituents who may be having trouble finding complete, accurate information about these tragedies.

Sept. 11, 2001

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Americans reeled in horror Tuesday as the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history saw two hijacked planes crash into the World Trade Center, toppling the twin 110-story towers where thousands of people had just arrived for work. Within an hour, an explosion rocked the Pentagon in Washington, where the White House, the Capitol and all other federal buildings were evacuated. Military jets patrolled the skies while the FAA grounded all civilian aircraft nationwide, but not before reports of another plane crashing in Pennsylvania. President Bush vowed to "hunt down the folks who committed this act."

[ World Trade Center Explosion Sequence Photo ]American Airlines said two of its aircraft, carrying a total of 156 people, had been hijacked and were used in the attacks. One was a Boston-Los Angeles Flight, the other had left Washington for Los Angeles.

United said two of its flights had also crashed. In Pennsylvania, a Boeing 757 en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashed about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh with 45 people aboard. Their fate was not immediately known and it was not clear if the crash was related to the disasters elsewhere.

And a United Boeing 767 bound from Boston to Los Angeles with 65 people on board also crashed, but United did not say where.

Officials expected hundreds of casualties resulting from the trade center crashes.

Authorities had been trying to evacuate the thousands of people who work in the towers when they collapsed, trapping rescuers and workers. Much of Manhattan was being evacuated.

[ World Trade Center Explosion Sequence Photo ]"I have a sense it's a horrendous number of lives lost," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said. "I don't know yet. Right now we have to focus on saving as many lives as possible."

At the Pentagon, officials said an aircraft crashed into part of the sprawling complex, collapsing walls. At least 22 casualties were reported.

Attacks Minutes Apart

In New York, the aircraft struck minutes apart, starting fires and sending smoke billowing out of the skyscrapers.

The first crash happened shortly before 9 a.m. ET. The top of the south tower later collapsed onto the street below.

Shortly after 9 a.m., a second aircraft was seen crashing into the other tower. Broadcast cameras already watching the scene filmed the second plane as it slammed into the tower and exploded in a huge fireball.

Lockdown in D.C.

[ Chaotic New York Street Scene Photo ]A half hour later, President Bush made a brief statement to reporters, calling the disaster a "national tragedy" and attributing it to terrorists. He did not cite any specific terrorist groups but vowed to "hunt down the folks who committed this act."

The president, who had been in Florida, did not return to Washington but went instead to Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La.

U.S. military jets took to the skies to shoot down any unidentified aircraft, and congressional leaders were taken to secure locations. A plane was reported to have been circling the Capitol building before the evacuation.

In New York, much of Manhattan was evacuating as rescuers tried to regroup after the trade towers collapsed.

The center was the scene of an earlier terrorist attack: the Feb. 26, 1993, bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others. Terrorist Ramzi Yousef and three others were convicted of orchestrating the attack. Three other indicted co-conspirators remain at large.

Across the country, high-rises like Chicago's Sears Trade tower were being evacuated as a precaution. Buildings were also being evacuated in London.