United Airlines Flight 93 was the only hijacked plane that didn’t hit its target. The largest reason for that was a 45-minute delay at the airport prior to takeoff, which gave passengers time to learn of the attacks and surmise, correctly, that their only chance of surviving was retaking control of the aircraft. Though the plane crashed, their efforts prevented a fourth high-profile impact – likely the US Capitol Building or White House.
As news of the other three crashes trickled in, Flight 93’s passengers and flight attendants frantically phoned loved ones. Along with panic, these calls are often fraught with stunned bewilderment and morbid abandonment guilt.
The voice message flight attendant Ceecee Lyles left for her husband showcases this macabre mélange. It begins matter-of-factly, even calmly: “Hi baby. You have to listen to me carefully. I’m on a plane that’s been hijacked. I’m calling from the plane.”
Her voice begins cracking as she cuts to the chase, asking that her children be told she loves them before apologizing to her husband for what she suspects is his pending widowerhood: “I’m so sorry baby.”
Finally, the horrible – and perhaps purposefully buried – lede. “There’s three guys, they’ve hijacked the plane … I heard that there’s planes that have been flown into the World Trade Center.” “I HOPE…” – she stresses this word – “…to see your face again, baby. I love you.”