Flight Attendant Recalls What Happened When Her Plane Made An Emergency Landing On 9/11.
On September 11th, 2001, a plane en route to Atlanta, Georgia was rerouted for emergency landing to Newfoundland, Canada. Emotions ran high and the passengers and cabin crew were terrified. But what started out as a scary situation turned into something completely heartwarming and unexpected.
“We were about five hours out of Frankfurt flying over the North Atlantic. All of a sudden, I was told to go to the cockpit to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed the crew had one of those “all business” looks on their faces.
The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Atlanta, addressed to our flight, and simply said, ‘All airways over the Continental U.S. are closed. Land ASAP at the nearest airport, advise your destination.’
We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. It was quickly decided that the nearest airport was 400 miles away, behind our right shoulder, in the town of Gander, on the Canadian island of Newfoundland. A quick request was made to the Canadian traffic controller and a turn to Gander was approved immediately.
We found out later why there was no hesitation by the Canadian controller approving our request. We were told to get the airplane ready for an immediate landing. While this was going on, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area.
A few minutes later, I went back to the cockpit to find out that some airplanes had been hijacked and were being flown into buildings all over the U.S.
We decided to make an announcement and LIE to the passengers for the time being. We told them that an instrument problem had arisen on the airplane and that we needed to land at Gander to have it checked.