Final words of 9/11 flight attendant who bravely identified hijackers in one of her final acts

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By stefan armitage

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On the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we turn our focus to an unsung hero, who used her final moments to help others: Betty Ann Ong.

As reported by the New York Post, the 45-year-old flight attendant found herself in the midst of the unthinkable on American Airlines Flight 11 that fateful day. However, despite the terrifying situation she found herself in, Ong was able to provide crucial information that helped identify the hijackers and their actions.

Initially, Betty wasn't scheduled to be on duty 22 years ago. She had taken on an extra shift so that she could join her sister, Cathie, for a vacation in Hawaii. As such, she was assigned to Airlines Flight 11 -- departing from Boston’s Logan Airport for Los Angeles.

However, just 14 minutes into the flight, the plane was hijacked and rerouted towards New York City.

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Betty Ong was a flight attendant on the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. Credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

At approximately 8:30AM, Betty spoke with ground employees via an Airfone. In a calm voice, she told them: "The cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class - and I think there’s Mace.

"I think we’re getting hijacked."

Alongside fellow flight attendant Madeline Sweeney, Betty relayed invaluable details to the ground crew, including the seat numbers of the hijackers. She stayed on the call for an agonizing 23 minutes, gathering and relaying life-or-death information. At 8:46AM, the plane crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower.

The final words Betty reportedly said over the Airfone were: "Pray for us. Pray for us."

Thanks to the courageous call, the world now knows that the hijackers "jammed their way" into the plane's cockpit before killing co-pilots John Ogonowski and Thomas McGuinness Jr.

Additionally, Ong's details informed the world that the terrorists horrifically attacked business-class passenger Daniel Lewin, and critically wounded flight attendants Bobbi Arestegui and Karen Martin.

Moreover, Betty’s keen observations confirmed the use of Mace by the terrorists, leading to the passengers assembling in coach to escape its fumes.

Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines employee who spoke with Betty from the ground, later told her sister Cathie: "I'm the person who spoke to your sister [from the ground]. You need to be very proud of your sister. She provided a lot of information very calmly."

Keeping her legacy alive, Betty's family now runs a foundation supporting the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco. "We continue to keep her legacy alive by the work we’re doing," Cathie said.

The tragic events of 9/11 claimed 2,977 lives that day, marking the deadliest terrorist attack in history and the highest number of line-of-duty deaths for first responders in a single day. According to the 9/11 Commission, 343 firefighters, 23 NYC police officers, and 37 Port Authority officers were among those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Over the last 22 years, even more lives have been lost due to illnesses directly linked with the attacks.

On this 22nd anniversary, we remember and honor Betty Ann Ong and all the heroes who displayed exceptional courage.

Featured image credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Final words of 9/11 flight attendant who bravely identified hijackers in one of her final acts

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

On the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we turn our focus to an unsung hero, who used her final moments to help others: Betty Ann Ong.

As reported by the New York Post, the 45-year-old flight attendant found herself in the midst of the unthinkable on American Airlines Flight 11 that fateful day. However, despite the terrifying situation she found herself in, Ong was able to provide crucial information that helped identify the hijackers and their actions.

Initially, Betty wasn't scheduled to be on duty 22 years ago. She had taken on an extra shift so that she could join her sister, Cathie, for a vacation in Hawaii. As such, she was assigned to Airlines Flight 11 -- departing from Boston’s Logan Airport for Los Angeles.

However, just 14 minutes into the flight, the plane was hijacked and rerouted towards New York City.

size-full wp-image-1263227991
Betty Ong was a flight attendant on the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. Credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

At approximately 8:30AM, Betty spoke with ground employees via an Airfone. In a calm voice, she told them: "The cockpit’s not answering. Somebody’s stabbed in business class - and I think there’s Mace.

"I think we’re getting hijacked."

Alongside fellow flight attendant Madeline Sweeney, Betty relayed invaluable details to the ground crew, including the seat numbers of the hijackers. She stayed on the call for an agonizing 23 minutes, gathering and relaying life-or-death information. At 8:46AM, the plane crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower.

The final words Betty reportedly said over the Airfone were: "Pray for us. Pray for us."

Thanks to the courageous call, the world now knows that the hijackers "jammed their way" into the plane's cockpit before killing co-pilots John Ogonowski and Thomas McGuinness Jr.

Additionally, Ong's details informed the world that the terrorists horrifically attacked business-class passenger Daniel Lewin, and critically wounded flight attendants Bobbi Arestegui and Karen Martin.

Moreover, Betty’s keen observations confirmed the use of Mace by the terrorists, leading to the passengers assembling in coach to escape its fumes.

Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines employee who spoke with Betty from the ground, later told her sister Cathie: "I'm the person who spoke to your sister [from the ground]. You need to be very proud of your sister. She provided a lot of information very calmly."

Keeping her legacy alive, Betty's family now runs a foundation supporting the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco. "We continue to keep her legacy alive by the work we’re doing," Cathie said.

The tragic events of 9/11 claimed 2,977 lives that day, marking the deadliest terrorist attack in history and the highest number of line-of-duty deaths for first responders in a single day. According to the 9/11 Commission, 343 firefighters, 23 NYC police officers, and 37 Port Authority officers were among those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Over the last 22 years, even more lives have been lost due to illnesses directly linked with the attacks.

On this 22nd anniversary, we remember and honor Betty Ann Ong and all the heroes who displayed exceptional courage.

Featured image credit: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images