Betty Ann Ong
February 5, 1956
|Died||September 11, 2001 (aged 45)|
World Trade Center, New York
|Cause of death||Terrorist plane crash|
|Known for||Notifying American Airlines staff of Flight 11's hijacking|
Betty Ann Ong (traditional Chinese: 鄧月薇; simplified Chinese: 邓月薇; pinyin: Dèng Yuèwēi; February 5, 1956 – September 11, 2001) was an American flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first airplane to become hijacked during the September 11 attacks. Shortly after the hijacking, Ong notified the American Airlines ground crew of the hijacking, staying on the telephone for 25 minutes and relaying vital information that eventually led to the closing of airspace by the FAA for the first time in United States history.
At the time of her death, Ong lived in Andover, Massachusetts. On September 11, 2001, Ong assigned herself to Flight 11, so she could return to Los Angeles and go on vacation to Hawaii with her sister. During the hijacking, she used a telephone card to call in to American Airlines' operations/Raleigh reservations center, from the plane's rear galley; identified herself and alerted the supervisor that the aircraft had been hijacked. Along with fellow flight attendant Madeline Amy Sweeney, she relayed a report of the seat numbers of three hijackers. During her Airfone call, she reported that none of the crew could contact the cockpit nor open its door, a passenger (Daniel M. Lewin) and two (Karen Martin and Bobbi Arestegui) flight attendants had been stabbed, and that she thought someone had sprayed Mace in the business class cabin.
On September 21, 2001, some 200 members of the Chinese American community in San Francisco gathered in a small park to pay tribute to Ong. Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown, who was present, gave a proclamation honoring the people who died in the tragedy and called September 21 "Betty Ong Day".
In 2002, the first recipients of the annual Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery were Sweeney and Ong.
Ong is also memorialized on Gold Mountain, a mural dedicated to Chinese contributions to American history on Romolo Place in North Beach, a street where she used to skateboard and play as a child.
The Betty Ann Ong Foundation is a non-profit public charity, which "serves to educate children to the positive benefits of lifelong physical activity and healthy eating habits and to provide opportunities for children to experience the great outdoors so that they can grow to become healthy, strong and productive individuals."
An extensive clip from Ong's call to headquarters was used for the beginning of the 2012 film Zero Dark Thirty. The clip was used without attribution, and without the consent of Ong's family. They requested that Warner Brothers, the film's U.S. distributor, make a charitable donation in her name, credit her onscreen, state the Ong family doesn't endorse torture (which the film depicts being used in the manhunt for Osama bin Laden) on its website and in home entertainment versions of the film, and acknowledge these things during the 85th Academy Awards ceremony.
The following is a transcript of the eight-minute and 26-second conversation between Ong, American Airlines' operations/Raleigh reservations, Nydia Gonzalez (Operations Specialist on duty on September 11) and American Airlines' emergency line. It begins with Ong in mid-sentence, her voice audible during only its first four minutes.
- "Betty Ann Ong Foundation". bettyong.org.
- "Betty Ong: Unsung Hero of Sept. 11". National Public Radio. September 10, 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
Betty Ong, a Chinese-American flight attendant for American Airlines, may have saved untold numbers of lives by telling emergency personnel on the ground what was happening aboard flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001. Her call led to air traffic controllers landing every plane flying over U.S. airspace. ...
- "以鄧命名康樂中心 意義非凡". Sing Tao Daily. 2013-11-26. Archived from the original on 2017-07-22. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
在三藩市華埠出生長大的鄧月薇（Betty Ann Ong）[...]
- "Pelosi: In Recognition of the Heroism of Betty Ong". 10 October 2010. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010.
- "North Pool: Panel N-74 - Betty Ann Ong". National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
- Richard Sisk & Monique el-Faizy (July 24, 2004). "Ex-Israeli commando tried to halt unfolding hijacking". NY Daily News. Archived from the original on August 19, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
- "Betty Ong's Call from 9/11 Flight 11". 9/11 Commission. Archived from the original on 2009-11-08. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- "9/11 commission hears flight attendant's phone call". CNN. January 27, 2004. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
'The cockpit's not answering,' flight attendant Betty Ong said. 'Somebody's stabbed in business class, and, um, I think there's Mace that we can't breathe. I don't know; I think we are getting hijacked.' Ong, 45, was on board American Airlines Flight 11, the Boeing 767 en route from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, that was flown into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
- Nancy Pelosi (September 22, 2004). "In Recognition of the Heroism of Betty Ong". United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on October 10, 2010. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Betty Ong, a native daughter of San Francisco's Chinatown and a hero for our Nation on September 11, 2001. ...
- AsianWeek (2001-09-11). "Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center Opens in Chinatown". AsianWeek. Archived from the original on 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- "The 9/11 Tapes: The Story in the Air". The New York Times. September 7, 2011.
- "Betty Ann Ong: 9/11 hero gets lasting tribute". San Francisco Chronicle. October 21, 2011.
- "Betty Ann Ong Foundation". Bettyong.org. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Jim Herron Zamora (2007-09-12). "S.F. mural depicting 9/11 flight attendant scarred by taggers". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Cieply, Michael (2013-02-23). "9-11 victim's family raises objection to Zero Dark Thirty". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2013-02-24.
The Ong family is also asking that the filmmakers donate to a charitable foundation that was set up in Ms. Ong’s name. Further, they want Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is distributing "Zero Dark Thirty" in the United States, to include a credit for Ms. Ong and a statement on both its Web site and on home entertainment versions of the film making clear that the Ong family does not endorse torture, which is depicted in the film, an account of the search for Osama bin Laden.
- "The 9/11 Tapes: The Story in the Air". The New York Times. September 7, 2011. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- "Transcript of Flight Attendant Betty Ong". Gale Global Issues. Reprinted from Terrorism: Essential Primary Sources by K. Lee Lerner (2006); retrieved September 9, 2013.[dead link]
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