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10. Eyewitness Reports of Other Aircraft in Area of Crash,
an accounting of C-130 cargo plane, and helicopter


McClellan, Kenneth
The crew of a military cargo plane watched as a hijacked airliner plunged into the Pentagon, a defense official confirmed Tuesday.
          The report confirms the eyewitness account of two Hampton Roads residents who were near the Pentagon that day and said they saw a second plane flying near the doomed passenger jet.
          A C-130 cargo plane had departed Andrews Air Force Base en route to Minnesota that morning and reported seeing an airliner heading into Washington "at an unusual angle," said Lt. Col. Kenneth McClellan, a Pentagon spokesman.
          Air-traffic control officials instructed the propeller-powered cargo plane "to let us know where it's going," McClellan said.
          But, he said, there was no attempt to intercept the hijacked airliner.
          "A C-130 obviously goes slower than a jet," McClellan said. "There was no way he was going to intercept anything."
          The C-130 pilot "followed the aircraft and reported it was heading into the Pentagon," he said.
          "He saw it crash into the building. He saw the fireball." . . .
          In the days immediately following the Sept. 11 hijackings, the Pentagon had no knowledge of the C-130's encounter, because all reports were classified by the Air National Guard, the Pentagon spokesman said.
          "It was very hard to get any information out," McClellan said.
"C-130 crew saw Pentagon strike, official confirms," by Terry Scanlon and David Lerman, Daily Press, 10/17/01

O'Keefe, John
"I was going up Interstate 395, up Washington Boulevard, listening to the radio . . . and from my left side, I don't know whether I saw or heard it first -- this silver plane; I immediately recognized it as an American Airlines jet," said the 25-year-old O'Keefe, managing editor of Influence, an American Lawyer Media publication about lobbying. "It came swooping in over the highway, over my left shoulder, straight across where my car was heading. . . .
          "The eeriest thing about it, was that it was like you were watching a movie. There was no huge explosion, no huge rumbling on ground, it just went `pfff.' It wasn't what I would have expected for a plane that was not much more than a football field away from me.
          "The first thing I did was pull over onto the shoulder, and when I got out of the car I saw another plane flying over my head, and it scared . . . me, because I knew there had been two planes that hit the World Trade Center. And I started jogging up the ramp to get as far away as possible.
          "Then the plane -- it looked like a C-130 cargo plane -- started turning away from the Pentagon, it did a complete turnaround.
"At the Pentagon: Airplane as a Bomb," New York Law Journal, 9/12/01

Rodriguez, Meseidy
Meseidy Rodriguez confirms "it was a mid size plane". His brother inlaw also saw a jetliner flying low over the tree tops near Seminary Rd. in Springfield, VA. and soon afterwards a military plane was seen flying right behind it.
Dead link:
Link no longer relevant:

As I came up along the Pentagon I saw helicopters. . . .
          Then I saw the plane. There were only a few cars on the road, we all stopped. I know I wanted to believe that plane was making a low descent into National Airport, but it was nearly on the road. And it was headed straight for the building. It made no sense. The pilot didn't seem to be planning to pull up anytime soon.
          It was there. A huge jet. Then it was gone. A massive hole in the side of the Pentagon gushed smoke. The noise was beyond description. The smell seemed to singe the inside of my nose. . . .
          I called my boss. . . . "Something hit the Pentagon. It must have been a helicopter." I knew that wasn't true, but I heard myself say it. I heard myself believe it, if only for a minute.
"Rerun: September 11, 2001, by Skarlet (webmaster of, Overly Caffeinated: The Punk Princess Weblog, 9/11/01

Sucherman, Joel
Within about two minutes there were fire trucks on the scene. . . .
          Within a minute another plane started veering up and to the side. At that point it wasn't clear whether that plane was trying to maneuver out of the way and out of the air space or if that plane was coming around for another hit as well. That plane ended up disappearing into the sky.
Real Player (Audio): "Joel Sucherman,"
The above is linked to at: "Plane crashes in Pa.; unclear if related,", 9/12/01

Thompson, Phillip
Then a gray C-130 flew overhead, setting off a new round of panic.
"COMMENTARY: Familiar feelings as the unimaginable unfolds," by Phillip Thompson,, 9/11/02

Wheelhouse, Keith
Her brother, [Keith] Wheelhouse, of Virginia Beach, spotted the planes first. The second plane looked similar to a C-130 transport plane, he said. He believes it flew directly above the American Airlines jet, as if to prevent two planes from appearing on radar while at the same time guiding the jet toward the Pentagon.
"`Horrific' Image Still Haunts Surry Woman - Disaster Viewed From Arlington," by Terry Scanlon, The Daily Press, 9/14/01

PLANT (LIVE): Well, and speaking to people here at the Pentagon, as they're being evacuated from the building. I'm told by several people that there was, in fact, an explosion. I was told by one witness, an Air Force enlisted - senior enlisted man, that he was outside when it occurred. He said that he saw a helicopter circle the building. He said it appeared to be a U.S. military helicopter, and that it disappeared behind the building where the helicopter landing zone is -- excuse me -- and he then saw fireball go into the sky. . . . It's a very tense situation obviously, but initial reports from witnesses indicate that there was in fact a helicopter circling the building, contrary to what the AP reported, according to the witnessess I've spoken to anyway, and that this helicopter disappeared behind the building, and that there was then an explosion. That's about all I have from here.
September 11 Live CNN Transcript, Europe

Hemphill, Albert
We constantly scanned skyward with our "eyeball radar," noting the sound of every jet engine seemed to make us jump. Fortunately, the only aircraft noise was the crisp distinctive ripping sound was of Air Force F-16's or the roar and popping of the rotor blades of a Park Police UH-1 helicopter surveying the damage. The only large fixed wing aircraft to appear was a gray C-130, which appeared to be a Navy electronic warfare aircraft, he seemed to survey the area and depart in on a westerly heading.
"RE: The flag was still there - Pentagon Eye-Witness account," e-mail by Albert Hemphill, TML September 2001 archive,, 9/12/01

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