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 fourth of these attacks, occurring at 10:03 am local time, United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 passenger airplane, crashed en route from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California. The plane crashed in a rural area of Pennsylvania near the town of Shanksville following a struggle for control of the plane between the passengers and four hijackers. Forty-four people, including 33 passengers, seven crew members, and four hijackers were killed in the crash. Nine responders were injured, according to information reported by the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. Al-Qaida leaders including Osama bin Laden and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attacks in multiple videotaped interviews. Mohammed indicated in a 2002 interview with the Doha-based Al Jazeera News Network that the intended target of Flight 93 had been the United States Capitol Building located in Washington, DC.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


Near Shanksville

Location Details:
The hijacked plane crash-landed 150 miles northwest of Washington D.C. in a field near the town of Shanksville.

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 United Airlines
Specific Description United Airlines-owned Boeing 757 passenger jet aircraft
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity United States Congress
Specific Description The United States Capitol Building
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Civilians
Specific Description Airline passengers and crew members on board American Airlines Flight 93 and personnel at the intended Capitol Building target
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 40
US Hostages 38
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, possibly knives or other sharpened metal objects. The attackers intended to turn the airplane into a missile by flying it into the United States Capital Building in Washington D.C. 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). The passengers attempted to retake control of the airplane after receiving word that other hijacked aircraft had been crashed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The attackers evidentially gave the order to crash the plane once they realized they could not maintain control of the vehicle to carry out their mission. United Airlines Flight 93, departing from Newark International Airport at 8:42 am local time, crashed at 10:03 am. Air traffic controllers believed that the hijackers took over the airplane at 9:28 am, so the hijacking lasted for 35 minutes before Flight 93 crashed.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Qaida Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Video)
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 4
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 44 Fatalities / 9 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 44
Number of U.S. Fatalities 38
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 4
Total Number of Injured 9
Number of U.S. Injured 9
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.