9/11/01 timeline: How the September 11, 2001 attacks unfolded

From the Twin Towers, to the Pentagon, to Shanksville, Pa.

WLS logo
Monday, September 11, 2023
9/11 Timeline: How the September 11 attacks unfolded
Here's how the terror attacks unfolded on September 11, 2001.

NEW YORK -- Here's how the 9/11 terror attacks unfolded on September 11, 2001, at the Twin Towers, Pentagon, and on Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.

9/11 Timeline

5:45 a.m. - Hijackers pass through security in Portland, Maine, and board a flight to Boston, where they connect to American Airlines Flight 11.

6:00 a.m. - Polling stations open, as September 11 was a primary election day in New York City.

This June 23, 1999, file photo shows the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.
AP Photo/Ed Bailey, File

7:59 a.m. - Flight 11 takes off from Boston for Los Angeles. Eleven crew members, 76 passengers, and five hijackers are on board.

8:15 a.m. - Flight 175 takes off from Boston for Los Angeles. Nine crew members, 51 passengers, and five hijackers are on board.

8:19 a.m. - Flight 11 crew members alert ground personnel that a hijacking is underway. Shortly before, one hijacker stabbed a passenger, Daniel Lewin, who was seated in front of him. Officials speculate that Lewin may have tried to stop the hijackers and was likely the first victim of the attacks.

Thick smoke billows into the sky from the area behind the Statue of Liberty, lower left, where the World Trade Center was, on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.
AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer, File

8:20 a.m. - American Airlines Flight 77, en route to Los Angeles, takes off from Washington, D.C. Six crew members, 53 passengers, and five hijackers are on board.

8:24 a.m. - Attempting to communicate with passengers, a hijacker contacts air traffic control, unwittingly alerting controllers to the attacks.

8:37 a.m. - Boston air traffic control alerts the military. Air National Guard jets in Massachusetts are mobilized to follow Flight 11.

8:42 a.m. San Francisco-bound United Airlines Flight 93 takes off at Newark following a delay. Seven crew members, 33 passengers, and four hijackers are on board.

8:46 a.m. - Flight 11 crashes into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower.

Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers, Sept. 11, 2001, in New York.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

8:50 a.m. - President George W. Bush is alerted. His advisors assume this is a tragic accident.

8:55 a.m. - The South Tower is declared secure.

8:59 a.m. - Port Authority police order the evacuation of both towers. A minute later, the order is expanded to the entire World Trade Center complex.

9:00 a.m. - A flight attendant aboard Flight 175 alerts air traffic control that a hijacking is underway.

People run from the collapse of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center in this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo.
AP Photo/FILE/Suzanne Plunkett

9:03 a.m. - Flight 175 crashes into floors 77 through 85 of the South Tower.

9:05 a.m. - President Bush learns that a second plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. Twenty-five minutes later, he addresses Americans, saying that "terrorism against our nation will not stand."

9:05 a.m. - Flight 77 passenger Barbara Olson calls her husband, U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who alerts other federal officials of the hijacking.

9:36 a.m. - Secret Service agents evacuate Vice President Dick Cheney to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center beneath the White House.

9:37 a.m. - American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. The crash and fire kill 59 on the plane and 125 on the ground.

The south side of the Pentagon burns after a plane crash in Washington, Sept. 11, 2001.
AP Photo/Tom Horan, File

9:42 a.m. - The FAA grounds all flights.

9:45 a.m. - The White House and U.S. Capitol are evacuated.

People cover their faces as they escape the collapse of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center following terrorist attacks, Sept. 11, 2001.
AP Photo/Suzanne Plunkett

9:59 a.m. - The South Tower collapses in 10 seconds after burning for 56 minutes. More than 800 people in and around the building are killed.

10:03 a.m. - United Airlines Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers and crew storm the cockpit. Forty passengers and crew on board perish.

Emergency workers look at the crater created when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.
AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

10:15 a.m. - The Pentagon's outer ring collapses.

10:28 a.m. - The North Tower collapses after burning for 102 minutes. More than 1,600 in and around the building are killed.

11:02 a.m. - New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani orders the evacuation of Lower Manhattan.

12:16 p.m. - The last flight still in the air above the continental United States lands.

Firefighters work beneath the destroyed mullions after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

12:30 p.m. - A group of 14 survivors emerge from a North Tower stairwell.

3:00 p.m. - A survivor, Pasquale Buzzelli, is rescued from the rubble of the North Tower.

5:20 p.m. - After burning for hours, 7 World Trade Center collapses, There are no casualties.

Firefighters make their way through the rubble after terrorists crashed two airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows in New York, Sept. 11, 2001.
AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin

8:30 p.m. - President Bush addresses the nation from the White House, assuring Americans that a search is underway for "those who are behind these evil acts."

10:30 p.m. - Rescuers locate and extract two PAPD officers injured but alive in debris of the World Trade Center.

MORE: 9/11 attacks by the numbers

The 9/11 terror attacks were the deadliest ever to occur on American soil.