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Calls indicate Flight 93 passengers went down fighting

September 19, 2001 Posted: 7:37 AM EDT (1137 GMT)

By Miles O'Brien

(CNN) -- Little more than an hour after United Airlines Flight 93 left Newark International Airport for San Francisco, California, the 757 reversed course and started heading toward Washington.

Passengers began making frantic phone calls home.

Passenger Jeremy Glick, 31, a 6-foot-1 judo champ, called his wife to tell her his plane had been hijacked. He said the hijackers had stabbed a flight attendant -- and to find out if what he had heard was true -- that another plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.

When she said yes, Glick put the phone down. When he came back on the line, he told her the male passengers had taken a vote to attack the hijackers.

Todd Beamer apparently was one of those male passengers who voted to attack. He used an air-phone to call a GTE supervisor who patched him through to the FBI.

Beamer told the FBI that one hijacker positioned in the rear of the plane claimed to have a bomb strapped to his body and that he -- Beamer -- and others were going to jump him.

He had the GTE supervisor promise to call his wife, Lisa, who was due with their third child in January. After Beamer put the phone down, the supervisor overheard him say, "Let's roll."

Passenger Tom Burnett, a 6-foot-2 former high school quarterback, was also apparently part of the group. He called his wife four times during the hijacking. On the last call, he told her the male passengers were getting ready to do something.

"He said, 'They've already knifed a guy; they're saying they have a bomb. Please call the authorities,' " said Deena Burnett.

The fourth member of the passenger revolt -- and there may have been others -- was Mark Bingham -- a 6-foot-5 rugby player. He was sitting in the first-class section of the plane with Tom Burnett and, it turns out, two of the hijackers.

Bingham called his mother to say goodbye.

"He said, 'I want you to know I love you very much, and I'm calling you from the plane. We've been taken over. There are three men who say they've got a bomb,' " said Alice Hoglan.

There's no way anyone can know what happened after the passengers decided to attack.

It is known that after the jet reversed course and started heading toward Washington, President Bush authorized U.S. fighter planes to shoot it down if it threatened the nation's capital.

It never got that far. Flight 93 crashed in western Pennsylvania in a field 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

Senate considers medals for Flight 93 victims

September 19, 2001 Posted: 7:25 PM EDT (2325 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate is considering honoring the passengers and crew aboard United Airlines Flight 93 with a Congressional Gold Medal for taking "heroic and noble action" before the aircraft crashed in western Pennsylvania on September 11.

"The passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, "recognizing the potential danger that the aircraft they were aboard posed to large numbers of innocent Americans, American institutions, and the symbols of American democracy, took heroic and noble action to ensure that the aircraft they were aboard could not be used as a weapon."

The bill says the passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 757 committed "the ultimate act of selfless courage and supreme sacrifice ... possibly saving countless lives in the nation's capital."

The Gold Medal is Congress' highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements. The first Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington by the Continental Congress in 1776.

Other past recipients include Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Edison, Robert F. Kennedy and Pope John Paul II.


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