domingo, 14 de septiembre de 2014

9/11 Attacks: Timeline, Facts, and its Effects on the World

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...
September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: View of the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. (Image: US National Park Service ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On 11th September 2001, the United States experienced one of the largest terrorist attacks on its soil, which killed at least 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000. It also caused damage worth at least USD 10 billion, including property, building, and other constructions. According to news reports, the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda planned this attack that took place in three different locations: World Trade Center in New York City; Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia; and in Washington D.C.

Nineteen terrorists hijacked four passenger airplanes for the attacks, and according to media sources, the whole plan was masterminded by the group's leader Osama bin Laden. Two planes, United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center Towers. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon, which is the Headquarters of the Department of Defense. The fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially directed towards Washington D.C., but went down in a meadow at Shanksville in Pennsylvania.

Timeline of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

On September 11, 2001, at around 8 in the morning, American Airlines Flight 11 lifts off from Boston's Logan International Airport. Its destination is supposed to be LAX, LA, California. Five hijackers take control of the plane when it is in midair, and alter the route to New York City.

Around 8.15, United Airlines Flight 175 also takes off from the Logan International Airport, heading for the same destination, i.e., LAX. Five hijackers are on board and before take off, they contact the others on Flight 11.

At 8.20 am, American Airlines Flight 77 lifts off from the Washington Dulles International Airport―its destination also being LAX―and is boarded by five hijackers. By this time, the transponder of Flight 11 has been turned off, and American Airlines is alerted by a flight attendant that the plane is being hijacked.

Few radio transmissions are intercepted by flight controllers at Boston around 8.30 am, wherein a terrorist tells all the passengers to be quiet and not make any move. The hijacking of Flight 11 is confirmed, and the plane is on route to New York City.

At 8.36 am, Flight 175 gets a view of Flight 11, which is a few miles in the southern direction, and notifies this to air traffic controllers. Flight 175 is hijacked at 8.40 am. At the same time, United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark International Airport, and is initially bound for San Francisco International Airport.

At 8.46 am, Flight 11 crashes into North WTC Tower, at a speed off more than 450 mph. The plane's fuel ignites and a huge cloud of smoke billows out from the upper floors where it has crashed. From the lower floors, people begin to get out, but the ones on top are still trapped. Several people on the outside start filming the entire scenario.

The news travels fast and extensive media coverage begins at the same time. At 8.50 am, two calls are made from Flight 175, one from a man to his father, and the second from a flight attendant to United Airlines. Both calls are made to inform that the plane has been hijacked.

Around the same time, hijackers take control of Flight 77 and change its original course, now heading towards Ohio. The then U.S. President George W. Bush hears the news about the WTC crash while he is in Florida. At 8.55 am, the transponder of Flight 77 is switched off, and the plane is moving towards Washington D.C.

At 9.03 am, Flight 175 crashes into the South WTC Tower at a speed of almost 600 mph. By this time, many media and broadcasting organizations are already near the towers, giving out live news. The second crash is filmed and shown live on news channels.

Decisions are taken to shut off all airports in the nearby regions around 9.15 am. At 9.23 am, Flight 77 is informed of the double crashes, and to be aware of suspicious people on the plane. Minutes after this message, terrorists enter the cockpit and take control of Flight 93. NORAD is informed about the possible hijacking of both airplanes.

At 9.37 am, Flight 77 crashes into the western part of the Pentagon, leading to a big fire. All the passengers are instantly dead, and the death toll of Pentagon personnel is above 100. The White House, The Capitol, and other important buildings are evacuated at 9.40 am.

Around 10 am, President Bush hears the news about the Pentagon crash. The WTC South Tower collapses completely. On Flight 93, the passengers start planning to subdue the terrorists, as the plane is on course to Washington D.C.

At 10.03 am, Flight 93 crashes into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after resistance is shown by the passengers. According to reports, the initial target of the hijackers probably was the White House or the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. At 10.30 am, the North WTC Tower collapses.

Effects and Aftermath of 9/11 Terrorist Attacks on The World

Subsequent to these destructive incidences, media coverage and rescue operations increased further. Commercial flights from the US to Canada and vice-versa were also canceled. The WTC crashes had a damaging effect on the surrounding buildings, like the Marriott Hotel, 4 WTC, 6 WTC, 5 WTC (in all, seven surrounding buildings were affected). Rescue and relief given was fast enough, and on the same day following the crashes, orders were given to shoot down any plane that behaved suspiciously. Monetary relief and donations from charity organizations and otherwise were also received for the aid of the victims.

The terrorist attacks were condemned by the nation shortly after they took place, along with other countries showing their support. Many middle-eastern countries too denounced the act, including Afghanistan. Hate crimes against Middle-Eastern origin and Asian-origin people began to rise a lot, like murders, thievery, arson, etc., after September 11. Several bank accounts thought to belong to terrorists were closed down.

On the International front, USA strengthened its stand against terrorism, and continued deploying troops in Afghanistan to combat the terrorists. This can be said to be one of the direct effects of the September 11 attacks, as the British also joined forces with the US army in the War of Afghanistan. The war that was waged against Iraq can also be considered to be one of the effects of these attacks.

Regarding health effects, the toxins that arose because of the crashes were responsible for many deaths due to asphyxiation, and air quality in the immediate surroundings worsened a lot. Many pregnant woman gave birth to premature babies, and some were even stillborn. On an average, more than 15,000 individuals are known to have developed a variety of illnesses due to these attacks.

In case of effects on the economy, the stock markets were closed till 17th September, and the losses were pegged at more than USD 1 trillion. More than 4,00,000 jobs were lost, and New York City's GDP decreased considerably. The entire American airspace was closed for many days, and after it started, the traffic situation worsened drastically.

September 11 Attacks: A Tribute to All Who Died

Following the attacks, several memorials were built in the honor of all the people who lost their lives. The Tribute in Light (also called the annual tribute) was set up at Ground Zero (which is the basal section of the area where the twin towers were present). Another memorial called the New York Memorial was built following the attacks.

The Pentagon Memorial was unveiled to the public in 2008, and is constructed exactly where Flight 77 crashed into the wall. The Flight 93 National Memorial honors all those who lost their lives in the Pennsylvania crash.
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