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Airline Captain that Told His Passengers to Take Over If Anyone Tried to
Hijack His Plane-Truth!
A passenger writes an account of her experience aboard an airliner
shortly after the terrorist hijackings of September 11. She
says the pilot gave a pep-talk before take-off that included his
instruction that the passengers should overpower any hijackers that
might try to take over the flight. Among other things, he
allegedly told them to throw things at the hijackers and try to get
blankets over their heads so they couldn't see.
Truth This has been an odd one
to track down, but here's what we've got:
The Internet eRumor version of the story merely mentions a female
business traveler flying from Denver to Washington, D.C.
There is a commentary in the Washington Times on September 21, 2001
written by Paul Hannaford who is described as a public affairs
consultant. He doesn't say whether he was on the flight but he
does give details of what transpired.
There is also an Associated Press story from September 21, 2001
written by Sharon Cohen that says there was a passenger aboard the
flight named Kathy Rockel who experienced it all first-hand.
She is a medical transcriptionist who was traveling on the flight on
September 15, the Saturday after the terrorist attacks. She
says it was United flight 564 from Denver to Dulles airport.
TruthOrFiction.com has tried twice to get comment from United
Airlines and they have declined. The first time was an outright
"We have no comment." The second was "We're
trying to deal with the needs of families who experienced loss on
September 11, and we don't have the time to look into stuff like
this." In other words, they don't want to talk about
A real example of the story as it has been circulated:
The following is from a letter by a professional friend and her return
flight to D.C. this week.
"I just wanted to drop you all a note and let you know that I arrived
safe and sound into Dulles Airport tonight [9/15] at about 6:00.
It was an interesting flight.
The airport in Denver was almost spooky, it was so empty and quiet. No one
was in line for the security check point when I got there so that went
fairly quickly, just x-ray of my bags and then a chemical test to be sure
nothing explosive was on them. Then I waited 2 1/2 hours to board the
What happened after we boarded was interesting and thought I would share
it with you. The pilot/captain came on the loudspeaker after the doors
His speech went like this: "First I want to thank you for being brave
enough to fly today. The doors are now closed and we have no help from the
outside for any problems that might occur inside this plane. As you could
tell when you checked in, the government has made some changes to increase
security in the airports. They have not, however, made any rules about
what happens after those doors close. Until they do that, we have made our
own rules and I want to share them with you.
Once those doors close, we only have each other. The security has taken
care of a threat like guns with all of the increased scanning, etc.
Then we have the supposed bomb. If you have a bomb, there is no need to
tell me about it, or anyone else on this plane; you are already in
control. So, for this flight, there are no bombs that exist on this
Now, the threats that are left are things like plastics, wood, knives, and
other weapons that can be made or things like that which can be used as
Here is our plan and our rules. If someone or several people stand up and
say they are hijacking this plane, I want you all to stand up together.
Then take whatever you have available to you and throw it at them. Throw
it at their faces and heads so they will have to raise their hands to
protect themselves. The very best protection you have against knives are
the pillows and blankets. Whoever is close to these people should then try
to get a blanket over their head--then they won't be able to see. Once
that is done, get them down and keep them there. Do not let them up. I
will then land the plane at the closest place and we WILL take care of
them. After all, there are usually only a few of them and we are 200+
strong! We will not allow them to take over this plane.
I find it interesting that the U.S. Constitution begins with the words
"We, the people"--that's who we are, THE people and we will not
With that, the passengers on the plane all began to applaud, people had
tears in their eyes, and we began the trip toward the runway. The flight
attendant then began the safety speech. One of the things she said is that
we are all so busy and live our lives at such a fast pace.
She asked that everyone turn to their neighbors on either side and
introduce themselves, tell each other something about your families and
children, show pictures, whatever. She said "for today, we consider
you family. We will treat you as such and ask that you do the same with
Throughout the flight we learned that for the crew, this was their first
flight since Tuesday's tragedies. It was a day that everyone leaned on
each other and together everyone was stronger than any one person alone
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