Madeline Amy Sweeney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Madeline Amy Sweeney
Madeline Amy Sweeney
Born(1965-12-14)December 14, 1965[1]
DiedSeptember 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 35)
Cause of deathPlane crash
OccupationFlight attendant
Michael Sweeney
(m. 1993)

Madeline Amy Sweeney (December 14, 1965 – September 11, 2001) was an American flight attendant who was killed when American Airlines Flight 11 was deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center by hijackers during the September 11 attacks.

American Airlines Flight 11[edit]

On September 11, 2001, Sweeney, who had been a flight attendant for 12 years, was asked by American Airlines to take an extra shift because the other crew member, who was assigned to the position, was ill.[3] Normally, she would only work part-time on weekends.

At approximately 7:15 a.m., before the plane had taken off, Sweeney made a cellular telephone call to her husband Mike, from the plane – which he deemed to be "highly unusual".[4] She was feeling low about being at work and missing out on a chance to see their five-year old daughter Anna, a kindergartener, off to school.[5] Mike comforted her by saying she would have plenty of days ahead to see their kids off to school.[6] After the plane was hijacked, she relayed a report on the phone with manager Michael Woodward of the seat numbers of the hijackers, which later helped investigators to determine their identities. Sweeney said that one of the hijackers had shown her a device with red and yellow wires that appeared to be a bomb.[7]

At 8:46 a.m., Sweeney was on the phone with Woodward when the plane crashed into the North Tower: "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!"[8][9] She was survived by her husband and their two children.[1]


Sweeney's name is located on Panel N-74 of the National September 11 Memorial’s North Pool, along with those of other people aboard Flight 11.

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.[10] The first recipients were Sweeney, Flight 11 Captain John Ogonowski, and Sweeney's fellow flight attendant, Betty Ong, who had also relayed information about the hijacking to personnel on the ground. They were all residents of Massachusetts. Relatives of all three accepted the awards on their behalf.[11][12]

Sweeney is commemorated in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum on panel N-74 at the North Pool.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Madeline Amy Sweeney Obituary". Boston Globe. September 14, 2001. Archived from the original on November 10, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  2. ^ "Sept. 11 changed two Acton families forever". Wicked Local. September 9, 2011. Archived from the original on September 6, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Rosen, Dan (September 9, 2011). "Ten years later, 9/11 still resonates in hockey". Archived from the original on January 1, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  4. ^ of Investigation, Federal Bureau. "T7 B17 FBI 302s of Interest Flight 11 Fdr- Entire Contents". Scribd Inc. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Lopez, Steve. "A decade later, returning to the scene of something unfathomable". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 19, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Zuckoff, Mitchell (April 11, 2019). "'We have some planes': Inside the hijacking of Flight 11". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on May 9, 2021. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Sheehy, Gail (February 15, 2004). "'Stewardess ID'd Hijackers Early, Transcripts Show' burden". New York Observer. Archived from the original on December 7, 2007. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  8. ^ "Extract: 'We have some planes'". BBC News. July 23, 2004. Archived from the original on January 25, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  9. ^ "Calm as Death Drew Near for Flight 11". ABC News. February 21, 2004. Archived from the original on September 29, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  10. ^ "Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery: 2006 Nomination Form". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 2006. Archived from the original on June 8, 2006.
  11. ^ Tangeny, Chris (February 12, 2002). "Heroes' Moment Honors Trio on Flight 11 Will Recognize Courage". The Boston Globe. ProQuest 405443436.
  12. ^ "Flight 11 crew honored for civilian bravery". Associated Press. February 12, 2002. Archived from the original on November 4, 2017. Retrieved May 16, 2021 – via The Standard-Times.
  13. ^ "North Pool: Panel N-74 – Madeline Amy Sweeney". National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2011.

External links[edit]