Explosion and smoke
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The story...

The final call from Flight 93 ended with reports of an explosion and smoke -- the missile hit?

" eight minutes before the crash, a frantic male passenger called the 911 emergency number. He told the operator, named Glen Cramer, that he had locked himself inside one of the plane's toilets. Cramer told the AP, in a report that was widely broadcast on 11 September, that the passenger had spoken for one minute. "We're being hijacked, we're being hijacked!" the man screamed down his mobile phone. "We confirmed that with him several times," Cramer said, "and we asked him to repeat what he said. He was very distraught. He said he believed the plane was going down. He did hear some sort of an explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane, but he didn't know where. And then we lost contact with him."

Our take...

This seems an odd report for a number of reasons.

First, it's reported to have occurred at 9:58 and lasted for a minute,, putting the explosion at least 4 minutes before the crash time (official chronology), 7 minutes if you believe those who say it actually crashed at 10:06. How could the plane stay in the air for so long, if it had just been hit by a missile?

Second, if this was a missile hit then there should have been sizeable chunks of wreckage left behind. If the plane was flying at 300 miles per hour, for instance, then you'd see debris perhaps as much as 20 to 35 miles away from the eventual crash scene. Straight line distance at the reported impact speed of 500 mph, would see this stretch to 33 to 58 miles. And yet, all we see in reality is claims of lightweight debris being found 8 miles way. It doesn't fit.

Third, the story doesn't make a lot of sense internally. If the plane was hit by a missile, or there was a bomb on board, and it caused enough damage to bring it down, then wouldn't you expect the cabin to depressurise? But apparently not. This missile hit seems so gentle that it removed an engine, perhaps, somehow started a fire within the cabin, but didn't depressurise it (in which case you'd expect any smoke to be pulled out, even at low altitude).

The idea that the passenger "saw white smoke coming from the plane, but didn't know where" also appears strange. He was locked in the toilet, how could he see "white smoke" coming from anywhere, other than seeping under the door?

We could theorise about alternative explanations. The passenger counter-attack had started around now, so could he have peered out from the bathroom door and seen a galley full of steam? (The flight attendants were reportedly boiling water to use as a weapon). And heard a crash as the passengers charged the cockpit door with a food trolley?

Well maybe, but there’s another issue. The fourth problem for the report is that the 911 call has been played to the younger brother of the passenger, and according to him the stories simply aren't true.

"For example, in the days following the crash, the Associated Press interviewed Glen Cramer, a Westmoreland County emergency services supervisor, who told AP and other news agencies that he had read "off a transcript" that minutes before the crash a passenger, David Felt, had called and told the dispatcher that he had he had heard an explosion and that there was white smoke in the pane.

But in a phone interview, Felt's younger brother Gordon, who was played the 911 tape by the FBI when he went to hear the cockpit recordings in a special event for the victims' families, said, "There was no mention of white smoke or an explosion." Also, the dispatcher who took the call, John Shaw, confirmed that Felt had mentioned neither bomb nor white smoke. "It never happened," he stated".

John Shaw? Yes, it turns out he's the one who actuallly took the call. Glen Cramer was just his supervisor at the time. Use Google to search for "John Shaw" "Flight 93" and you get the real story, which isn't suspicious at all:

The morning of Sept. 11, Shaw was taking a break and walking across the room toward a TV when a phone rang and he picked it up. There was a man on the other end.

"He told me he locked himself in the bathroom ... his plane had been hijacked," Shaw said.

"He was crying, frightened, scared, anxious," Shaw said. "There was absolutely no doubt" that he was telling the truth about the hijacking.

"I told him to stay calm," Shaw said. "It was a last-ditch effort."

Shaw got as much information as possible from the man before the jet was out of range and the connection was broken.


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