Tags: Steve Malzberg Show | Flight 93 | heroic | passengers | hijackers | Ben Sliney

Frmr. FAA Official: Flight 93 Passengers Made Travel Safer

By    |   Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 07:21 PM

The former FAA official who ordered all U.S. flights grounded after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks says the heroics of doomed passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were responsible for making air travel safer today.

"Their conduct is what is going to deter any future or similar terrorist activity," Ben Sliney, who was the FAA's national operations manager, said Thursday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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Flight 93, on a flight from Newark to San Francisco, was the last of the four planes to crash on 9/11, killing 33 passengers, seven crew and four terrorists.

The jet slammed into a Pennsylvania field after the passengers and crew valiantly fought the terrorists.

The heroic actions were recorded on cellphone calls to loved ones made when it was clear the plane was under attack, and were the basis of the movie “United 93.”

"You would not only have to subdue the pilot and the crew, you'd have to subdue the entire passenger load in order to accomplish anything [now]," Sliney said.

"Even if they had however possibly got weapons on board, machine guns or pistols, they'd have to kill everyone on the plane otherwise they're going to rise up and they know they're going to die anyhow.

"We saw examples of that following 9/11 during certain episodes."

Sliney said FAA officials were at first mystified as to why two commercial jets would be flown into the towers of the World Trade Center.

"The protocols were to always cooperate with whatever the pilot says the hijackers want and to clear other aircraft out of the air space to allow them to go where they want to go," Sliney said.

"Usually they ended benignly, those hijacks. I suppose the biggest thing to discover later on was that the hijackers themselves were piloting the planes. That did not occur to us."

He said officials were "greatly puzzled" over how a hijacker could force a pilot to fly into a building

"In the case of the World Trade towers you have the East River and the Hudson River and you had the Atlantic Ocean," Sliney said.

"I could imagine if a pilot knew all of the people on the plane were going to die anyhow, he or she would do anything they possibly could to crash that plane into an area that was not going to have an impact on other people, the ocean in this case.

"We all got educated on 9/11 about the possibility of these types of terrorist activities."

Sliney's order to temporarily ground all U.S. flights after the 9/11 attacks was the first time that command had ever been given in U.S. history.

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The former FAA official who ordered all U.S. flights grounded after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks says the heroics of doomed passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were responsible for making air travel safer today. Their conduct is what is going to deter any future or...
Flight 93, heroic, passengers, hijackers, Ben Sliney
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2014-21-11
Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 07:21 PM
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