20 Years Of September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks: A Timeline And Some Facts


New Delhi: It was around 8:45 am ET (6.15 pm IST). It was a clear morning, and the day had just started. What happened at that hour for America on September 11, 2001 went on to change the world forever, in many ways. 

A passenger plane crashed into one of the 110-storey World Trade Center towers in New York City’s business district of Lower Manhattan. Before people could get over the shock, another fuel-loaded plane flew into the other tower. Soon, the twin towers collapse, killing many and injuring countless people.          

This was not all. A third US commercial airplane flew into the Pentagon near Washington, DC, and yet another plane crashed on a field in  Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  

The deadly terror attacks were orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, the founder and first leader of Islamic extremist group al Qaeda. As many as 19 men had hijacked four planes, which were bound for west coast destinations, for the attacks that left a total of 2,977 people dead. 

September 11 has since been observed as ‘Patriot Day’ every year. Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan’s Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.


September 11, 2001

8.46 am (ET): An American Airlines flight strikes the North Tower of WTC. 

9.03 am: A United Airlines flight strikes the South Tower of WTC.

9.37 am: An American Airlines strikes the Pentagon building. 

9.59 am: WTC South Tower collapses.

10.03 am: A United Airlines flight crashes in a field in Pennsylvania. 

10.28 am: WTC North Tower collapses.

December 13, 2001: Osama bin Laden claims responsibility for the attacks, according to a tape released by the US government.


The cleanup operation that began at Ground Zero after the WTC attacks officially ended on May 30, 2002. There was 1.8 million tonnes of debris at the site and it took 3.1 million hours of labour to clean up the place, according to a CNN report, which also said the total cost of the cleanup was $750 million.

The US created its Department of Homeland Security in response to the 9/11 attacks, merging 22 government agencies into one. These agencies included the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Customs Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and US Coast Guard.

At Qaeda spent $500,000 to execute the attack, according to a report in The New York Times. The economic impact on the US added up to $3.3 trillion factoring in the losses due to decline in airline travel immediately after the attacks, the damage to WTC site and adjoining infrastructure, expenses incurred on aid packages and paying insurance claims.

The original September 11 Victim Compensation Fund operated from December 2001 to June 2004 and awarded aid to 5,560 applicants, a CNN report said. The fund was reopened and expanded in January 2011, and it operates to date. 

Families who availed compensation from the fund had agreed not to sue the airlines whose planes were used in the attacks, according to reports.

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