Flight 93 (TV film)
|Directed by||Peter Markle|
|Produced by||Clara George|
|Written by||Nevin Schreiner|
|Music by||Velton Ray Bunch|
|Edited by||Scott Boyd|
|30 January 2006 (USA)|
Flight 93 is a 2006 television film, directed by Peter Markle, which chronicles the events aboard United Airlines Flight 93 during the September 11 attacks. It premiered on January 30, 2006 on the A&E Network and was re-broadcast several times throughout 2006.
The film focused heavily on eight passengers, namely Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett, Jeremy Glick, Lauren Grandcolas, Donald Greene, Nicole Miller, and Honor Elizabeth Wainio. It features small appearances from many other passengers, namely Donald Peterson and his wife, Jean, and also from flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw.
The film was rated PG-13 for some violence and emotional depiction of the hijack situation. The DVD version was released on June 26, 2006.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (November 2013)|
On the morning of September 11, 2001, First officer LeRoy Homer Jr. gets dressed in his F.A.A. official uniform, kisses his wife and leaves for work. The terrorist ringleader Ziad Jarrah shaves in his hotel room and then leaves for Newark International Airport.
At the airport, the passengers and crew board United Airlines Flight 93 bound for San Francisco, along with the hijackers. Shortly after boarding, Flight 93 is delayed for 41 minutes because of the high volume of traffic, as the other three soon-to-be hijacked flights take off.
Air traffic controllers monitoring all current flights notice that American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767, has taken a southern turn toward New York City and hijacker Mohamed Atta makes a threatening transmission from the flight deck. Shortly after, Flight 11 descends into Lower Manhattan and crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, though air traffic controllers are not aware of it. After Flight 11 crashes, United Airlines Flight 175 begins to descend and turn toward New York City as well. Air traffic controllers then realize they are dealing with a hijacking. Shortly after, American Airlines Flight 77 is hijacked. The traffic controllers alert the U.S. Air Force, who debate whether or not to shoot down all suspected hijacked flights. The air traffic controllers and Air Force then watch as Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on live television.
When word of the planes hitting the World Trade Center reaches Flight 93, the Captain asks if this is true. After the seatbelt sign is turned off, Ahmed al-Nami assembles a fake bomb out of clay and plastic during breakfast, then the other three hijackers hold off the flight attendants, and wrestle their way into the cockpit and overpower the pilots, turning the plane around, which is now over Ohio, toward Pennsylvania. By this time, Flight 77 has crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Footage of the South Tower collapsing in New York is also seen on TV at the home of one of the victims' family. (The South Tower actually collapsed while the fight onboard Flight 93 was occurring.)
To the growing consternation of Ben Sliney and his staff, coordination with the Air Force is haphazard and there are not enough planes ready, or armed, to respond to an in-air hijacking. Sliney ultimately decides to shut down all airspace in the United States and ground every flight.
The hijackers do not prevent anyone from making phone calls through the onboard phone system. After hearing about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the passengers and crew understand that if they do nothing, they will also reach a target, and eventually elect to storm the cockpit and attempt to retake the plane. The passengers make final phone calls to family in which they declare their intentions. The remaining crew assemble what makeshift weapons they can: cutlery, wine bottles, a fire extinguisher and hot water.
Learning that one of the passengers can fly a plane (although he has not flown a commercial aircraft), the group pin their hopes on his being able at least to control the plane. Todd Beamer is seen calling Lisa Jefferson, and he disconnects the phone and says, "You ready?.... Let's roll!" They start their counter-attack, running down the aisle with a food cart, and overpowering Ahmed al-Nami, who is outside the cockpit. After boiling water is thrown at him, al-Nami is killed by Mark Bingham with a blow to the head with the hot water container. Having seen this, Saeed al-Ghamdi, Ziad and Ahmed al-Haznawi prepare for invasion by the passengers and debate whether to take the flight down as the jet speeds back over Pennsylvania.
Ziad shakes the plane violently to throw the passengers off balance, but nonetheless they manage to breach the cockpit with the food cart. As the passengers wrestle with Saeed and al-Haznawi to get in the cockpit, Ziad puts the plane into a nosedive and flips the plane upside down as the passengers finally gain entrance into the cockpit. The plane misses a private propeller plane, a dragline crane, and a barn, then crashes through an old strip mine. A man working on his tractor sees Flight 93 roar over him on its side, and then it shows the plane rolling upside down as the man backs out of his barn to get a better view. After this, neither the plane nor the assault on the cockpit are seen anymore in the film. ATC is seen and heard desperately trying to call Flight 93, and Lisa Jefferson, with the phone still up to her ear, sits in shock. As the sounds of the ATC trying to call Flight 93 are heard in the background, the film shows a black mushroom cloud rising up over the barn owned by the man who just a few moments before saw Flight 93 crash. Footage of the first responders arriving are shown, as they look for the plane, thinking it "landed in the woods" because "first they thought it was in the hole, but, there's nothing in there." Footage of the North Tower collapsing is seen on TV as the families of the victims comfort each other.
Time moves on as the ground where the plane crashed recovers (the crater was refilled). When the crash crater is no longer visible, the following text is shown:
On September 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 was one of the four planes hijacked in midair. Three planes succeeded in hitting their targets. With great courage and resolve, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 prevented their plane from reaching its likely target, the White House or the Capitol Building. This film is dedicated to the passengers and crew of Flight 93, and to their families.
This text is followed by the names of the passengers and crew of Flight 93.