NEW YORK: Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States that left nearly 3,000 people dead.
The al Qaeda plane hijackings of September 11, 2001 — the first foreign attack on the US mainland in nearly two centuries — ruptured a sense of safety and plunged the West into wars still being fought today.
Two planes smashed into New York’s World Trade Center, leaving 2,753 dead. A third hit the Pentagon in Washington, killing 184, and 40 more died after a fourth plane headed for Washington crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt.
Here is the timeline of the events that fateful morning, which reshaped the course of US history:
An American Airlines Boeing 767 making a Boston-Los Angeles connection with 92 people on board — including five hijackers — smashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, leaving a giant hole in the building’s facade. Thick smoke trails into the sky from the tower’s upper floors.
A United Airlines Boeing 767 making a Boston-Los Angeles connection with 65 people on board — including five hijackers — hits the South Tower of the WTC, sparking a massive explosion.
Then US president George W. Bush, in Sarasota, Florida, calls the blasts “an apparent terrorist attack.” He orders “a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed these acts” and says he will immediately return to Washington.
An American Airlines Boeing 757 making a Washington Dulles-Los Angeles connection with 64 people on board — including five hijackers — smashes into the Pentagon in suburban Washington, setting off two explosions.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) orders the cancellation of all commercial flights in the United States.
The WTC’s South Tower, hit 56 minutes earlier, collapses in a huge cloud of smoke and dust.
A United Airlines Boeing 757 traveling from Newark to San Francisco with 44 people on board — including four hijackers — crashes into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew apparently fought with the hijackers.
The north tower of the WTC collapses, an hour and 42 minutes after it was struck. A huge cloud of dust blankets lower Manhattan.