9/11: Fifth plane, passengers argue with flight attendants for takeoff
A United 767 scheduled to take off from JFK on September 11, 2001, would have been the fifth plane targeted by the hijackers…that’s according to the flight attendants and the pilot on that plane. TMZ will air the United 23 story Monday on FOX at 9 p.m. ET.
TMZ did a 6-month investigation into United Flight 23 — scheduled to depart JFK at 9 a.m…. bound for Los Angeles. We interviewed 3 flight attendants, the pilot, the United dispatcher, a member of the 9/11 Commission and others about a series of suspicious activities on board… suspicious enough for the FBI to get involved.
Four passengers in first class aroused suspicion shortly after they boarded the plane. Flight attendants say one of the passengers was a man disguised as a woman. the Chaser [first class flight attendant] He tells us that these passengers did not eat meat, and there were only two bowls of fruit in the galley. She wanted to have more fruit bowls so the passengers could eat, and that sparked a heated argument…with one passenger insisting, “We don’t want to eat. We don’t need food. We want to take off…”..we just want to go. “
There were other reasons the flight attendants were suspicious of the 4 passengers initially, along with 2 others in business class.
The plane had moved onto the runway and was about to take off when the World Trade Center was hit and the airport was closed. United 23 returned to the gate and evacuated – the plane was empty and closed. Twenty minutes later, people on the ground saw two uniformed people run into the passenger cabin of United 23. Authorities came in shortly thereafter, opened the door and found that the hatch—which led from the belly of the plane into the cabin—was open.
The pilot believes these two people may have been there to remove weapons or other incriminating evidence. We don’t know what was removed from Flight 23, but we do know that someone put box-cutters in the first class seat pockets of the plane parked next to United 23…a plane that was not scheduled to take off at the time. The United 23 pilot believes these crate compartments were supposed to be on his flight but someone confused the two planes.
The FBI interviewed the flight attendants later that day and even took them to a lineup at the Port Authority to see if they could identify the four passengers.
“TMZ Investigates 9/11: The Fifth Plane” airs Mondays on FOX at 9 p.m. ET.