Asking questions at the Flight 93 Crash Site


[Part I] — [Part II] — [Part III] — [Part IV]

By: Devvy Kidd
September 11, 2005

Part II: Flight 93 shot down by our military?

There has been tremendous speculation that Flight 93 was shot down by our military. I visited the local library in Somerset, Pennsylvania on August 1, 2005, to see what the other local newspaper had run immediately following the crash. These items are taken from their newspaper, the Daily American (Somerset County's Newspaper):

September 12, 2001: "The man told dispatchers the plane” was going down. He heard some sort of explosion and saw white smoke coming from the plane and we lost contact with him," Cramer said." [Glen Cramer, dispatch supervisor from Westmoreland County]

"A former state police trooper saw UA Flight 93 shortly before it crashed near Shanksville. Larry Williams, who is now a private investigator in Boswell, was golfing on the 17th green at Oakbrook Golf Course about eight miles away when he heard the engines "roar real loud and shut off." The plane banked, then gained altitude, turned left and then went straight down, he said. It landed in a coal strip mine field."

This is the same Bob Blair from part one quoted in The Tribune Dispatch; this quote is from the Daily American:

"Bob Blair was completing a routine drive to Shade Creek just after 10:00 am Tuesday, when he saw a huge silver plane fly past him just above the tree tops and crash into the woods along Lambertsville Road. Blair, of Stoystown, a driver with Jim Barron Trucking of Somerset was traveling in a coal truck along with Doug Miller of Somerset, when they saw the plan spiraling to the ground and then explode on the outskirts of Lambertsville. "I saw the plane flying upside down overhead and crash into the nearby trees. My buddy, Doug, and I grabbed our fire extinguishers and ran to the scene," said Blair. "I saw the mushroom cloud and we called 9-11 right away," added Blair. "I knew with that crash that it wasn't likely there were survivors, but we had to go anyway. The plane was coming in on a slant and really hit the tree line at an angle."

Kelly Leverknight of Shanksville: "I was sitting in my living room when I heard a plane. I ran out to the front porch and watched it go down," she said. "There was no smoke, it just went straight down. I saw the belly of the plane." She said she heard the explosion, felt the blast, then saw smoke and fire coming out.

"Michael R. Merringer was out on a mountain bike ride with his wife, Amy, about two miles away from the crash site. "I heard the engine gun two different times and then I heard a loud bang and the windows of the houses all around rattled. I looked up and I saw the coming coming up." The couple rushed home and drove near the scene. "Everything was on fire and there was trees knocked down and there was a big hole in the ground," he said."

There are many web sites that contain numerous quotes from individuals who give varying accounts of what they saw that awful morning, including a mysterious white jet. You can read some of those accountings here and here.

There are many, many interviews from eye witnesses who state they saw smoke coming from the plane before it crashed. There is no question that debris was found miles away from the impact site. This raises serious questions:

"According to the 9/11 Commission Won-Young Kim later retracted his conclusion that Flight 93 crashed at 10:06. The Commission Report states that Flight 93 crashed at 10:03, and provides the following footnote.

"168. Ibid., pp. 23-27. We also reviewed a report regarding seismic observations on September 11, 2001, whose authors conclude that the impact time of United 93 was 10:06:05 am (EDT). Won-Young Kim and G. R. Baum, "Seismic Observations during September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attack," spring 2002 (report to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources). But the seismic data on which they based this estimate are far too weak in signal-to-noise ratio and far too speculative in terms of signal source to be used as a means of contradicting the impact time established by the very accurate combination of FDR, CVR, ATC, radar, and impact site data sets. These data sets constrain United 93's impact time to within 1 second, are airplane- and crash-site specific, and are based on time codes automatically recorded in the ATC audiotapes for the FAA centers and correlated with each data set in a process internationally accepted within the aviation accident investigation community. Furthermore, one of the study's principal authors now concedes that "seismic data is not definitive for the impact of UA 93." Email from Won-Young Kim to the Commission," Re: UA Flight 93," July 7, 2004; see also Won-Young Kim, "Seismic Observations for UA Flight 93 Crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania during September 11, 2001," July 5, 2004.

"All of the sources that the Report cites to support its claim of a crash time of 10:06 are apparently unavailable for public inspection, including Kim's 2004 paper, for which one will search in vain on the web. The " FDR, CVR, ATC, radar, and impact site data sets" cited by the Report all remain unavailable to the public. This contrasts with Kim and Baum's 2002 paper, which documents its case for the 10:06 crash time." Source reference here.

I went to Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I was there from July 30 - August 3, 2005. Because of these persistent allegations and theories that Flight 93 never crashed outside Shanksville, along with the persistent allegations that our military shot it down, I just had to go out there (I live in Sacramento, California) and do an on site investigation. I also asked my dear friend, Dane von Breichenruchardt, President of the Bill of Rights Foundation, to drive up from Washington, DC (a four hour drive to the Shanksville area) to join me for a day or two while I conducted my own investigation. Not only did I want Dane there as a witness while conducting interviews, he is also an appellate attorney, trained to study and watch people when they are questioned or testify.

After Columbine, there were preposterous conspiracy theories that NATO was involved as well as other wild stories. While I lived in Sacramento, California at the time, I went to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and did an on site investigation. The entire findings are on my CD. I did the same for Oklahoma City and was there only a week before the building was destroyed and the evidence buried. After Alaska Flight 261 went down, wild allegations that our military shot it down prompted me to once again hit the road to conduct my own investigation. That full and complete investigation which disproved all the wild conspiracy theories is also on my CD. The reason I do these on site investigations when I can is that sometimes, some things just bother me and the only way I can be sure in my own mind is, if possible because it costs me a lot of money, I go to the site.

I bring all this up for a reason that has to do with the next quote from the Daily American Newspaper on September 17, 2001:

"There were other aircraft in the air when the hijacked Flight 93 went down in a strip mine area near Shanksville on September 11. At a press conference on Saturday, FBI Special Agent Bill Crowley said two other aircraft were in the vicinity of Flight 93 at the time of the crash, including one believed to be en route to Johnstown. Crowley said a Falcon 20 civilian craft was heading for a landing at Johnstown approximately 20 miles away, "which would be consistent with information that the FAA gave." It was flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet when it was given clearance to drop to 5,000 feet to help pinpoint Tuesday's crash site."

"Crowley said there was also a C-130 military cargo plane in the area. He explained that it was not involved in the fatal crash. The cargo plane, carrying no weapons was 17 miles away flying at 24,000 feet."

There are other interviews regarding the mysterious white plane here. A rather detailed interview can be found here from CNNs transcripts about the debris field. If you click here, you will see an interview with the pilot of the civilian craft.

Another web site carries various accounts of the shot down theory, including yet another quote by former Shanksville Mayor, Ernest Stull:

"SHANKSVILLE, Pa. -- Ernie Stuhl is the mayor of this tiny farming borough that was so brutally placed on America's psychic map on the morning of Sept. 11, when United Airlines Flight 93 slammed nose-down into the edge of a barren strip-mine moonscape a couple of miles outside of town. A 77-year-old World War II veteran and retired Dodge dealer, he's certainly no conspiracy theorist.

"And, when you ask Stuhl for his theory of what caused the jetliner to crash that morning, he will give you the prevailing theory -- that a cockpit battle between the hijackers and burly, heroic passengers somehow caused the Boeing 757 to spiral out of control. "There's no doubt in my mind that they did put it down before it got to Washington and caused more damage," he said.

"But press the mayor for details, and he will add something surprising. "I know of two people -- I will not mention names -- that heard a missile," Stuhl said. "They both live very close, within a couple of hundred yards. . .This one fellow's served in Vietnam and he says he's heard them, and he heard one that day." The mayor adds that based on what he knows about that morning, military F-16 fighter jets were "very, very close."

Ernie Stull's name is incorrectly spelled on this site. Also on that site are comments attributed to Nevin Lambert:

"I didn't see no smoke, nothing," said Nevin Lambert, an elderly farmer who witnessed the crash from his side yard less than a half-mile away. Lambert also said he also later found a couple of pieces of debris, one a piece of metal, less than 12 inches across, with some insulation attached." Dane and I interviewed Nevin Lambert at his home on August 2, 2005; that interview is found in part III. By the way, Nevin is hardly "elderly."

Another quote on that site, and this is germane to the interviews I conducted and will get to in part III is:

"I think it was shot down," said Dennis Mock, who was not an eyewitness but lives closest to the crash site on the west side. "That's what people around here think."

There’s no question from interviews in the "mainstream" media that Bush gave the military orders to intercept and shoot down any commercial airliners that refused instructions to turn away from Washington. There's no question, at least for this writer, that higher ups in the FBI have absolutely no credibility; one only need investigate the cover up of TWA Flight 800, KAL 007, OKC, WACO and other "tragedies." That leaves us with eye witness accounts and evidence.

I can tell you this much: On September 11, 2001, while watching coverage all that day on the tube, there was mention that an unmarked white plane had been seen over the White House and was causing a great deal of anxiety and concern. I only heard it mentioned once, but I know what I heard. Apparently I wasn't wrong, because you can click here and read a CNN transcript which contains the following:

"About 10 minutes ago, there was a white jet circling overhead. Now, you generally don't see planes in the area over the White House. That is restricted air space. No reason to believe that this jet was there for any nefarious purposes, but the Secret Service was very concerned, pointing up at the jet in the sky."

When I read about a white jet flying around over the Flight 93 crash site, it raised a red flag. Speculation about this white plane can be found everywhere on the Internet and here is another example. Did a white jet shoot down Flight 93 and if so, what kind of weapon was used? One of the main eye witnesses, Susan McElwain, claims the white plane is similar to a Warthog; see interview here. A Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II is a low-flying combat aircraft nicknamed a Warthog because of the very distinctive shape of the cockpit, nose and two engines which sit on the rear of the plane.

During the McKinney briefing I covered in part one, there was extensive discussion about the time line on September 11th and the question of whether Flight 93 was shot down and the exact time of the crash. I can't strongly recommend enough that every American read Crossing the Rubicon. The author, Michael Ruppert, was a panel member at the aforementioned briefing. Second, every American should also read The Terror Timeline by Paul Thompson. He was also a panel member and has the most precise, detailed time line of that day, including Flight 93. Every American should also acquire the DVD from McKinney's office of the aforementioned briefing. Ordinary Americans and the family members who lost loved ones that day have done the most intense investigations with little or no help from the Bush Administration. It is truly amazing the amount of evidence they have compiled while trying to cope with the murder of their loves ones. The conclusion one comes to after watching this briefing isn't very pretty.

Back to Shanksville. These planes were all flying very fast for the human eye. Flight 93 slammed into the ground at roughly 585 miles per hour. A Fairchild Falcon 20 is a sleek, beautiful white corporate type jet that can fly very, very fast; some companies put their logos on the body of the plane; all eye witnesses say there were no markings on this white jet.

One other thing I would like to bring up before I close out this section. When I did my Alaska Flight 261 investigation, I also filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Navy. The only thing I could not scan were the two dozen maps I obtained showing air space restrictions, flight lane paths, etc. In my FOIA, I requested all documents for any and all planes from Pt. Mugu, a highly secure Navy facility, their pay loads, flight patterns, etc. I did go onto Pt. Mugu to ask questions; my husband is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and I have the appropriate stickers in my Jeep window and identification to get on base.

The Navy informed me that I could obtain from them a video which contained the radar tracking of Flight 261. I paid the $140.00 charge and probably am one of the only civilians in this country to have this video which contains all the radar tracking. One thing that surprised me because I am not a pilot, nor have I ever served in the military, is how many planes were actually in the area and could see Flight 261 when it first put out their distress call. There were all kinds of commercial aircraft in the sky at the time who watched what transpired and it must have been heart wrenching to know they could no nothing to help. The bottom line is that the skies are full of aircraft all the time. You just don't see most of them because when they reach a certain altitude, they're no longer visible to the naked eye.

The alternative media who put out the conspiracy theories that Alaska Airlines Flight 261 was shot down by the Navy turned out to be the worst sort of irresponsible, arm chair "journalism" I have ever seen, yet people all over this country believed it. They believed it and they spread it all over the world via the Internet and that's exactly what kills the credibility of those who are trying to get the facts and the truth out to our fellow countrymen and women.

And, last but not least, is an interview with a man who claims to have interviewed the pilot who shot down Flight 93, a Col. Donn de Grand-Pre, U.S. Army (ret.):

"Colonel, before we take these four final calls, go over that a little bit slower for folks. That's a big deal. You talked to the pilot, a friend of yours, who shot down Flight 93 that was going for the Capitol or the White House. And go over that for folks.

"DGP: Okay, quick rundown. They were out of Hector Field, Fargo, North Dakota. A bunch, this 119 Fighter Group and they are called the Happy Hooligans. They are probably the best interceptors that we have in the country. They were moved to Langley Air Force Base from Hector Field down to Southern Virginia. And when the klaxon horn went off at 9:35, those two pilots put down their coffee and shot into their aircraft and took off. They didn't know where they were going initially but by 10:00 hours, they had rendezvoused over Southern Pennsylvania. That's about 250 miles in just a matter of minutes and engaged 93 with two side-winder missiles. And they accomplished their objective. Now Hector Field, I use to fly out of Hector Field some time ago. I know most of those pilots. I could name names. I know the National Guard Adj. General. And they were decorated about a year later and I have the full write up of that story in my book."

"I was able to find out this regarding the 119th Fighter Group:

"The announcement was made in March 1999 that the 119th Fighter Wing would convert from an air defense mission to a general purpose mission with 15 F-16A/B aircraft while activating an alert detachment at Langley AFB, VA. In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Hector International Airport Air Guard Station, ND. The 119th Fighter Wing’s F-16s (15 aircraft) would retire. The wing’s expeditionary combat support elements would remain in place. Hector (125) ranked low in military value. The reduction in F-16 force structure and the need to align common versions of the F-16 at the same bases argued for realigning Hector to allow its aircraft to retire without a flying mission backfill."

"Yes, they were flying F-16s out of North Dakota and it was widely reported that immediately following the crash, two F-16s showed up. Whether or not these fighter jets were scrambled from Hector Field is unknown to any degree of certainty. I could fine no references to this unit flying Warthogs out of Hector Field.

"It is my understanding that the actual individual who "pulled the trigger" is a Maj. Rick Gibney." [End of excerpt]

I know nothing about this individual, Colonel de Grand-Pre, except that he has authored some books. One thing I do know: if he has written about this in his book - fighters from the 119 Fighter Group being decorated for shooting down Flight 93 - then I believe the families who lost loved ones on Flight 93 should demand that this Maj. Rick Gibney and any other fighters be identified, brought forward and questioned.

At this point in time, I have a very hard time believing that any of our military could keep quiet about shooting down a commercial airliner as famous as Flight 93 and not talking about it. It would also be a very, very difficult thing to live with if it were true.

Either de Grand-Pre is lying or he's telling the truth and the government is covering up. Let's get the truth and put this to rest.

Part III: A visit to Shanksville, Pennsylvania and interviews
Part IV: Photos and map