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The Pentagon Was Not
Struck by a Hijacked Jet on September 11-Fiction!
Summary of the eRumor The allegation is that the
destruction at the Pentagon on September 11 was not the result of being hit by a hijacked American Airlines 757, but some other
cause. The theories range from the building being hit by a
remote-control U.S. fighter jet to being damaged by a truck
In large headline, it asks the reader to "Hunt the
Boeing," referring to the American Airlines Boeing 757 that
plunged into the Pentagon.
The site is a part of speculation by conspiracy theorists and includes a book published in
France by Thierry Meyssan titled "The Frightening
Fraud." In it, the author contends that flight #77 did
not end by crashing into the Pentagon and that the whole thing is
part of a government plot and cover-up. Meyssan says it
doesn't make sense to him that there aren't any airplane pieces left
over from the crash and that the Pentagon did not immediately fall
from the impact.
The website asks several questions, which we will deal with
1. "The Associated Press first reported that a booby
trapped truck had caused the explosion." If this AP report was made, TruthOrFiction.com has not been able
to find it and none of the sites that makes reference to it lists a
source. Conflicting reports are common during breaking stories
and if someone did speculate a truck bomb, that theory quickly
2. "Can you explain how a Boeing 757- 200, weighing nearly 100 tons and travelling
at a minimum speed of 250 miles an hour only damaged the outside of the Pentagon?"
First, the Pentagon suffered extensive damage to more than just the
HERE TO SEE CHARTAlso,
the portion of the Pentagon where the plane hit was probably the
most heavily reinforced. In the October 3, 2001 edition of Architecture
Week, B.J. Novitski wrote that the impact of the plane was in
"Wedge One," which had been strengthened by recent renovation,
a project that was inspired, in part, by the bombing of the Federal
Building in Oklahoma City. He says that contrary to what is
believed, the casualties among workers in the Pentagon were not low
because of vacant offices, but because of the extraordinary
structural strength of the building. Novitski says that about
80 percent of the workers in the wedge were on duty that day, but
..."the exterior walls had been reinforced with steel beams and columns, bolted where they met at each floor. Some of these reinforced walls very near the point of impact remained in place for a half hour before collapsing, allowing uncounted hundreds to escape."
The hijackers chose one of the most reinforced buildings in the
world to crash into.
3. 'Can you explain how a Boeing 14.9 yards high, 51.7 yards long, with a wingspan of 41.6 yards and a cockpit 3.8 yards high, could crash into just the ground floor of this building?' Eyewitnesses to the crash as well as video from a security
camera at the Pentagon show that the plane struck at ground
level. Considering the description of the strength of the
building (above), it is not surprising that the weaker appendages of
the plane such as the tail and the wings would not have had as much
of an impact as the main body.
4. "Can you explain why the Defence [sic] Secretary deemed it necessary to sand over the lawn, which was otherwise undamaged after the attack?" According to the article in Architecture Week, it was for a
gravel bed that provided a road for large trucks to have access to
the crash site.
5. "Can you explain what happened to the wings of the aircraft and why they caused no damage?" Same answer as in #3. Photographs show indentations where
the stronger, inner portions of the wings may have made impact, but the
farther out towards the tips of the wings and the tail, the less
they would have had effect.
6. "Can you find the aircraft's point of impact? We're not sure what this question is supposed to mean.
There are plenty of pictures that show
clearly where the airplane hit the building. For some reason,
the creators of
the website chose two of the pictures that don't show it
clearly. Dick Bridges, the deputy manager for Arlington County
was quoted by AP on September 14, 2001, as saying that both of the
"black boxes" for flight #77 were found "...right
where the plane came into the building." If the recorders
didn't get much beyond that, the plane not only struck the building
at that point, but the ground as well. The cockpit voice
recorder was so badly damaged that it didn't yield any information.
1. If it was not American Airlines flight 77 that hit the
Pentagon, then where is the airplane and the 64 people who were
aboard? None of the conspiracy sites answers that question. Few of
them even ask it.
2. If it was not American Airlines flight 77, then why do
they have evidence of the bodies of known crew, passengers, and
hijackers? C. Christopher Kelley of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
says that the effort to identify bodies that ended on November 16,
2001, identified all but one of the victims of flight 77.
3. In response to the question of "Where is the
Boeing," the answer is "in pieces." There was plenty of evidence of the airplane at the site
including debris from the plane, as mentioned above, the remains of
the passengers, and the cockpit data and voice recorders.
Associated Press Military Writer Robert Burns reported on September
13,2001, that members of congress who had visited the Pentagon
crash site were told by rescue officials that much of the fuselage
of the Boeing 757 remained intact inside the damaged Pentagon.
4. Radar tracked the plane toward the Pentagon. Much has been made on some of the conspiracy sites that the
transponder in the cockpit was turned off by the hijackers so it
isn't clear what happened to the plane after that. The founder
of TruthOrFiction.com, Rich Buhler, is a licensed commercial pilot
and says the transponder being turned off doesn't mean the plane can
no longer be seen on radar. The transponder is a device that
not only makes the airplane more visible on a radar screen, but also
gives the radar controller other information such as the altitude,
speed, and sometimes the identity of the airliner. If the transponder is turned off, radar controllers
can usually still see what is called the "primary
target." That means there is a blip on the radar screen
showing the location.
According to www.airdisaster.com,
flight 77's transponder was turned off shortly after departure from
Dulles airport near Washington DC, but radar controllers could see
the primary target flying directly toward the White House.
Then the plane was seen to veer away from the White House and head
for the Pentagon.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
2 For 1
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