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8:29 a.m. September 11, 2001: American Airlines Manager Briefs Colleague on Flight 11 Hijacking, but Tells Him to Keep Quiet about It

Craig Marquis, the manager on duty at the American Airlines System Operations Control (SOC) center in Fort Worth, Texas, describes to his colleague Mike Mulcahy what he has been told about the trouble on Flight 11, but says he does not want this information to be passed on. [American Airlines, 9/11/2001, pp. 7-19; 9/11 Commission, 11/19/2003 pdf file] Marquis is currently on the phone with Nydia Gonzalez, a supervisor at the American Airlines Southeastern Reservations Office in North Carolina. Gonzalez is relaying to him information provided to her by Betty Ong, a flight attendant on Flight 11, about what is happening on the hijacked plane (see (8:21 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 8/26/2004, pp. 8-9]
Marquis Describes Hijacking of Flight 11 - Marquis now talks to Mulcahy and describes what he knows about the crisis. [9/11 Commission, 11/19/2003 pdf file] Mulcahy is the manager of SOC policies and procedures. His responsibilities include maintaining the emergency procedure checklist used in the SOC. [9/11 Commission, 11/19/2003 pdf file] After telling him to “come here,” Marquis says to Mulcahy: “I got an incident going on here. Flight 11, from Boston to LA. The number three flight attendant [i.e. Ong] called and said that two male passengers [i.e. hijackers] on board stabbed the number one and the number five flight attendant.” Marquis says the two hijackers have “broken into the cockpit and the plane is being flown erratically right now.” He adds that the hijackers “were in seats 2A and 2B.” Apparently still talking to Mulcahy, Marquis gives the instruction, “All the information on Flight 11, bring it to me here.” He then repeats what he knows about the incident, saying: “The passengers in 2A and 2B, two male passengers, have broken into the cockpit, stabbed the number one flight attendant. Okay, so right now the plane is being flown erratically, but that’s all we know.”
Marquis Tells Colleague to Keep Quiet about Hijacking - Marquis then says he wants the news of the incident kept quiet. He says: “I don’t want this spread all over this office right now. Any information that you get, send to me, okay?” [American Airlines, 9/11/2001, pp. 7-19] A tape recording of today’s events in the SOC, including this conversation, will in 2004 be played to some relatives of victims of the 9/11 attacks. One relative, who is a veteran flight attendant for United Airlines, will, after hearing the tape, be highly critical of the apparent desire of American Airlines managers to keep the news of the hijacking among themselves. She will say: “It was disgusting. The very first response was cover-up, when they should have been broadcasting this information all over the place.” Another relative will say, “I find it alarming that the airline… would want to hold something as horrific as a hijacking among a few people, when bells and whistles should have been going off in all categories of responsibility.” [New York Observer, 6/20/2004]

Entity Tags: Mike Mulcahy, Craig Marquis

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

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