Incident Summary:

09/11/2001: This was one of four related attacks that occurred in the United States that are known collectively as the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks. In the third of these attacks, which occurred at 9:37 am local time, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Five hijackers belonging to Al-Qaida hijacked the Boeing 757 aircraft on a flight from Washington Dulles International Airport to for Los Angeles International Airport and proceeded to fly the plane into the western side of the Pentagon. At least 190 people died as a result of the attack at the Pentagon. There were 53 passengers, six crew members and five hijackers on the plane, all of whom died on impact. In addition, 125 people died in the Pentagon due to the impact or in the resulting fire, and at least one first responder died as a result of illness contracted due to exposure to contaminants at the attack site. More than 100 people were injured. Al-Qaida leaders including Osama bin Laden and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attacks in multiple videotaped interviews.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Type of Attack (more) Hijacking
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Airports and Aircraft
Name of Entity American Airlines
Specific Description American Airlines-owned Boeing 757 passenger jet aircraft
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Passengers and crew members on American Airlines Flight 77 and Pentagon personnel
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Military
Name of Entity United States Department of Defense
Specific Description The Pentagon
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 59
US Hostages 56
Hours of Kidnapping 1
Outcome Hostage(s) killed (not during rescue attempt)
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Catastrophic (likely > $1 billion)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Vehicle (not to include vehicle-borne explosives, i.e., car or truck bombs)
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Melee Knife or Other Sharp Object
Weapon Details
The attackers reportedly gained control of the plane using sharp objects resembling knives or other sharpened metal objects. The attackers turned the airplane into a missile when flying it into the west side of the Pentagon. The airplane's jet fuel ignited the building and resulted in a massive fire. Mace may have also been used in subduing the passengers and crew members.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?Yes
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information This attack was one of four related incidents (cf. 200109110004-07). As the aircraft approached the Pentagon it clipped several street lamps, one of which fell onto a taxi cab, injuring the driver, Lloyd England. The aircraft's right wing hit a portable generator that provided backup power for the Pentagon and the left engine hit an external steam vault before it slammed into the Pentagon. American Airlines Flight 77 departed Washington Dulles International Airport at 8:20 am local time. The airplane was hijacked sometime between 8:51 and 8:54 am. Since the aircraft crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am, the hijacking lasted between 40-43 minutes. Details on the number of people wounded in the attacks are very difficult to confirm. The numbers reported in the GTD are conservative estimates for immediate casualties, first responders, and residents, based on documentation for the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF).
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Qaida Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Video)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 5
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 190 Fatalities / 106 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 190
Number of U.S. Fatalities 182
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 5
Total Number of Injured 106
Number of U.S. Injured Unknown
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
United States Government, The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2004.
Lindsay Kines, “United States on high alert after thousands feared dead: Airlines initially blame hijackers for attacks on the Pentagon in Washington, New York's World Trade Center,” The Vancouver Sun, September 11, 2001.
"Plane Crashes Into Pentagon; Troops Deployed in Response," Associated Press, September 11, 2001.