A TWA pilot, who valiantly maneuvered his plane to avoid colliding with hijacked commercial flights targeting the World Trade Center and the US Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001, is finally being acknowledged for his actions.
The pilot’s heroics were largely ignored by the media amidst the tragic events of 9/11, when Islamic terrorists claimed the lives of 2,977 people through attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, with four hijacked planes.
TWA’s Boeing 767 departed from JFK for St. Louis a minute after American Airlines Flight 11 collided with the North Tower of World Trade Center.
Passengers on the plane were able to see the World Center burning as they ascended towards flying altitude.
That’s when the pilot, who has only been identified by his first name, George, was forced to take evasive action to avoid United Flight 175, which was barreled towards the towers from Boston.
A flight attendant who was on board during the terrifying trip, told The New York Post that George flew the plane up and down in a scissoring motion to avoid the other jet.
The terrified passengers thought they were “going to crash,” when they saw Flight 175 fly “really close” by.
By 9:03 a.m. the crew learned that the ill-fated flight from Boston had collided with the South Tower.
The flight attendants barricaded the cockpit doors with food carts to protect the plane from a potential attack from within, and George warned that he’d assault anyone who entered with an ax.
The situation worsened when passengers turned off airplane mode and found out that the Pentagon had been hit by American Airlines Flight 77 over a half hour later.
That’s when the cockpit’s proximity alarms warned George that another plane was flying within 500 feet of them.
The jet in question was United Flight 93, which was speeding towards Washington D.C. from Newark.
For the second time that day, George took evasive action and avoided collision with the plane.
Flight 93 went down 26 minutes later, when passengers revolted against the hijackers and crashed into a field in Shanksville, PA.
George diverted the plane to Dayton, Ohio, after the federal government ordered all commercial aircraft to immediately land or be shot down.
In an ABC World News Tonight video, which has recently resurfaced in the lead up to 9/11’s 22nd anniversary, George explained that Flight 175 was not responding to flight control, while changing the planned heading and altitude, so he was instructed to deviate the route anyway he could to avoid a crash.
“We had him in sight — it was a nice day in New York,” George told the outlet at the time. “We were out of the clouds, which helped a lot. We just, you know, dodged him.”
Retired FDNY Lt. Charlie Hubbard, who was on his way to Honolulu, Hawaii, with his brother Jim and girlfriend Kate, said that he witnessed the “smoke coming out” of the World Trade Center as George flew them to safety.
“He saved our lives, without a doubt,” Hubbard remarked.