By Zeb Eckert
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
Sept. 11, 2001
As smoke and fire continue to billow from the Pentagon, government officials believe the explosion that rocked the home of the Department of Defense Tuesday morning happened when a hijacked American Airlines 757 slammed into the side of the building.
The Los Angeles-bound Flight 77 originated from Dulles International Airport, approximately 40 miles from the center of Washington.
Hijacked planes also leveled both World Trade Center Towers in New York. The first crash came just after 9 a.m. when an American Airlines 767 from Boston to Los Angeles crashed into the building.
Reports Tuesday afternoon said a flight attendant from the hijacked plane called American Airlines flight operations center to report that two flight attendants were stabbed and terrorists had entered the flight deck.
The second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center was reported to be United Flight 175, also from Boston to Los Angeles.
United officials confirmed a second flight in route from Newark to San Francisco crashed near Pittsburgh. A passenger on that flight reportedly called 911 from the plane to report a hijacking.
Airports across the nation are closed after the Federal Aviation Administration issued its first-ever ground stop order. As of Tuesday morning, 22 international flights in the air to America were allowed to land. None of those flights were known to have problems.
The government says the earliest it may reopen air traffic is Wednesday at noon.