The Airline Captain that Told His Passengers to Take Over If Anyone Tried to Hijack His Plane–Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
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.
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 it.
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 plane.”
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 were closed.
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 plane.
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 weapons.
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 be defeated.”
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 us.”
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 …