20 years since the attack on the Twin Towers

The morning of September 11, 2001 started sunny in New York. The American summer was almost over, and the residents of Manhattan were already returning to normal life. The metropolis dawned agitated, the primaries for the election of mayor would start that day.

At 8:46 am, the mood in the city completely changed. A Boeing 767-200ER hit the north tower of the World Trade Center building, a 110-story building at the tip of the island.

In 1 hour and 16 minutes, three other aircraft hit different targets in the United States: the south tower of the complex in New York; the Pentagon in Washington DC; and an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The passengers and crew of all planes died, as well as 2,977 people on American soil. Below we show how the 9/11 timeline worked. One of the most tragic days in world history, which is now turning 20 years old.

7:59 am

American Airlines Flight 11 departs Boston for Los Angeles. There are 11 crew, 76 passengers and 5 terrorists on board. The aircraft is supplied with 34,000 kg of fuel.

Mohamed Atta (right) and Abdul Aziz al-Omari (centre) boarding. The two participated in the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 11. Credit: Disclosure/US Department of Justice

8:14 am

After 15 minutes of takeoff, the hijacking begins on Flight 11. Mohamed Atta sprays to make breathing difficult for people in first class. Terrorists claim to have a bomb and direct passengers to the back of the aircraft. Former military man Daniel M. Lewin tries to control the criminals but ends up stabbed. The invaders enter the cabin and control the plane.

8:15 am

With 9 crew, 51 passengers and 5 terrorists on board, United Airlines Flight 175 takes off from Boston to Los Angeles. The aircraft is supplied with 34,000 kg of fuel.

8:19 am

In a call that lasted 25 minutes, the stewardess Betty Ann Ong, from American Airlines Flight 11, notifies the tower that the plane had been hijacked and that a person was stabbed in business class. She also revealed which seats the terrorists were sitting in, and the military was able to identify them. Intruders turn off the transponder and controllers can no longer know the location of the aircraft.

8:20 am

American Airlines Flight 77 departs Washington DC for Los Angeles. On board, 6 crew, 53 passengers and 5 terrorists. The aircraft is supplied with 22 thousand kg of fuel. The hijackers chose transcontinental planes with the aim of having enough gasoline to blow up the buildings.

Salem al-Hazmi (left) and Nawaf al-Hazmi (center) passing through security at Washington Dulles International Airport. Disclosure/US Department of Justice

8:24 am

Unwittingly, the hijackers notify the tower that they control American Airlines Flight 11. They thought they were talking into the aircraft’s internal system.

8:25 am

United Airlines Flight 175 pilot Victor J. Saracini listens to the terrorists’ transmission from Flight 11 and warns the tower. His plane is hijacked a few minutes later.

8:30 am

Morning activities begin at the World Trade Center, a shopping complex in southern Manhattan. The complex houses the Twin Towers, a hotel, four office buildings, a shopping mall, restaurants, a public square and a public transport transfer station. The restaurant on the 106th floor of the north tower called 72 employees to work on an event scheduled for the morning of September 11th.