Madeline Amy Sweeney
|Madeline Amy Sweeney|
December 14, 1965|
Valley Stream, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 11, 2001
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Amy Sweeney|
Madeline Amy Sweeney (December 14, 1965  – September 11, 2001), known as Amy Sweeney, was an American flight attendant on board American Airlines Flight 11 which was hijacked and flown deliberately into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, as part of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
On September 11, 2001, Sweeney was asked by American Airlines to take an extra shift, because the other crew member who was assigned to the position was ill. Normally, she would only work on weekends.
|"I see water. I see buildings. I see buildings! We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. Oh my God we are flying way too low. Oh my God!" (Flight 11 crashes)|
|-- Sweeney's last words on the inflight call with American Airlines manager Michael Woodward.|
During the hijacking, she used an airphone to call American Airlines flight operations center. She reached an operator and then Michael Woodward, the manager on duty who was also a friend for the previous decade. She relayed information about the hijackers' seats, and described them as Middle Easterners. She also reported that two flight attendants, the pilots, and a first class passenger had been stabbed. She reported that the hijackers had jammed their way into the cockpit and that there was mace in the first class cabin, and how they struggled to breathe. She also stated that the cockpit was not answering their phone. During the last minutes of the call, she said that the aircraft was flying erratically and that they were descending very rapidly.
Sweeney was aged 35 when she was killed. She had been a flight attendant for twelve years. She was survived by a husband and two children, ages 4 and 6 at the time. They lived in Acton, Massachusetts.
On February 11, 2002, Sweeney was commemorated in a series of new annual bravery awards initiated by the Government of Massachusetts. The annual Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery is awarded every September 11 to at least one Massachusetts resident who displayed extraordinary courage in defending or saving the lives of others.
The first recipients were Sweeney and her colleague Betty Ong, who had also relayed information about the hijacking to personnel on the ground. Pilot John Ogonowski also received a posthumous award for turning a radio switch on, which allowed ground control to listen to remarks being made by the hijackers. They were all residents of Massachusetts. Relatives of all three accepted the awards on their behalf.
In her nation's darkest hour, she responded with a selfless bravery that illustrates the very best of human nature. She was empowered by her ability to shed light where none existed.
She calmly and in a detailed fashion told us that Flight 11 had been hijacked, which was nothing short of a miracle.—American Airlines flight services manager Michael Woodward, who took the call from Sweeney.
She would have said she was just doing her job.—Michael Sweeney, her husband, a police officer.
- "Madeline Amy Sweeney Obituary". Boston Globe. September 14, 2001. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
- Rosen, Dan (September 9, 2011). "Ten years later, 9/11 still resonates in hockey". NHL.com. Retrieved 2011-09-10.
- "Extract: 'We have some planes'". BBC News. 23 July 2004. Retrieved 2009-09-11.
- "Calm as Death Drew Near for Flight 11". ABC News. 21 February 2004. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
- Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery - EOPS
- "North Pool: Panel N-74 - Madeline Amy Sweeney". National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Madeline Amy Sweeney.|
- "The last moments of Flight 11". BBC. September 21, 2001
- "Extract: 'We have some planes'". BBC. July 23, 2004
- Sheehy, Gail. "Stewardess ID'd Hijackers Early, Transcripts Show". The New York Observer. February 16, 2004