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Flight 93 Deliberately Downed by Hijackers?

Aired August 8, 2003 - 20:14   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A new report suggests a hijacker may have deliberately crashed United Flight 93 into a Pennsylvania field the morning of September 11, 2001. Officials say an FBI analysis of the cockpit voice recorder indicates the hijackers were trying to end a passenger uprising. Earlier speculation was that the passengers stormed the cockpit and crashed the plane themselves.
I'm joined now by Sandy Dahl. She's the widow of Flight 93's captain, Jason Dahl. She listened to the actual voice recorder.

Sandy, thanks very much for joining us. Welcome.

What you to make of the new information the FBI is putting out?

SANDY DAHL, WIDOW OF FLIGHT 93 VICTIM: I don't understand it, Mr. Blitzer.

I heard the tape. I listened to it twice, listened to the transcripts. I didn't hear anything that indicated to me the hijackers were intending to crash the airplane.

BLITZER: What they're suggesting, that a -- sort of an enhanced audio of that cockpit voice recording suggests that perhaps one of the hijackers ordered the hijacking pilot who managed to get into the cockpit to go ahead and crash the plane, as there was a disturbance among the passengers in the back. You've actually heard, though, the discussion, the cockpit voice recorder. And what did it say deliberately, clearly, to you?

DAHL: There was no discussion of crashing it right now. They talked about ending their mission earlier.

And they -- and they decided not to do that. So I don't think -- I don't think it was deliberate and it certainly wasn't planned.

BLITZER: One of the suggestions they've suggested, at least some of the experts who heard the cockpit voice recording, was that, in the Arabic, that there may have been a different translation, there may have been a more precise explanation of what was going on that than in the translation or in the English, whatever you may have heard in English. Is that possible?

DAHL: I heard the translation that the FBI gave us that day.

And I wanted to say, I would really love for the government to come out and marry the flight data record with the voice recorder. And we would have a very clear picture of what went on. I'm kind of disappointed in reading this report.


BLITZER: Well, tell us why, Sandy, you are disappointed, because there clearly was resistance aboard the plane, the United flight. The passengers clearly took the matter into their own hands, even if the final order to crash the plane came from the hijackers, as opposed to the passengers, who decided to save, let's say, Washington, D.C., the White House or the Capitol, knowing what happened at the World Trade Center.

DAHL: I'm disappointed at the FBI report, because I heard something other than what they reported. And I don't understand how they came up with it.

For instance, they talk about passengers indicated that the pilots were dead and laying in the first-class section. I heard evidence to the contrary on this tape. And I don't understand why they would report that.

BLITZER: Tell us exactly what you heard.

DAHL: Oh, I can't do that. I have signed papers with the FBI saying that I wouldn't.

I just wish that they would come out and tell the truth, the FBI, with the evidence they know. I'm not saying that they're deliberately trying to he deceive. I would just like the evidence out, so that people can know what really happened. It is kind of a folktale at this point. There was a riot of passengers and crew at the end. And they did crash into the cockpit.

BLITZER: When you say you can't tell us what exactly you heard, I'm not exactly clear why they would classify that. What is the secret at this point, give that we basically know so much about what happened?

DAHL: I'm not exactly sure either. Since they came out with this report, part of it, what they want to say, it isn't clear to me why it would be a secret. I understand that Zacarias Moussaoui needs a fair trial. And I'm hoping very much he gets one.

But I don't understand why keeping this a secret -- I would think that flight attendants, pilots and the traveling public, having this knowledge, it would be to their advantage.

BLITZER: Before I let you go -- and our heart goes out to you, of course, Sandy -- Jason, your husband, tell us a little bit about him.

DAHL: Oh, he was a wonderful person.

He was caring and loving and a great husband and a wonderful father and a good family man.

BLITZER: How are you coping? It's now almost two years. DAHL: It is hard. It is all coming back up again. And I'm just trying to get things going. And I think this anniversary will probably be ominous for a long time.

BLITZER: Are you going to do anything different on this second anniversary than you did on the first?

DAHL: No. I can't think of any place else that I should be. I'll be in Shanksville.

BLITZER: Well, once again, our deepest condolences to you. And let's hope this whole matter is resolved once and for all, maybe before 9/11 comes up for the second anniversary, maybe not.

But, Sandy Dahl, thanks very much for joining us.

DAHL: Thank you.


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