Sep 11 2006
I had not recalled the story of United Airlines flight 23, which was scheduled to depart from JFK or Newark to LA, which did not leave the tarmac. One History Channel show yesterday said the pilot, upon hearing the news out of NY City, decided to head back to the gate where three middle eastern men left the plane in a rush – leaving all their luggage behind. In the luggage supposedly was found Al Qaeda information. The names for the passengers were aliases. I have not had much luck in finding any contemporary reports but hope to do some research on this little known historic footnote to 9-11.
One of the planes is United Flight 23, which received a warning after 9am from Ed Ballinger while it was on a Newark, New Jersey runway about to take off for LA. The crew tells passengers there has been a mechanical problem and it returns to the departure gate. Somewhere between three and six Middle Eastern men argue with the flight crew and try to get off of the plane. They flee before security arrives. In their luggage are copies of the Koran and al Qaeda instruction sheets. NORAD says we probably avoided another attack on that day. Who were the men on this lane and where are they now? What was its intended target? Further, if there were more than 3 planes and 19 hijackers, then what to make of the claim by captive KSM that in the summer of 2001, UBL urged al Faruq camp trainees to pray for the success of an upcoming attack by 20 martyrs?
This should not be hard to verify with the flight crew.
Update: More here at CBSNews (H/T reader Bopbottle).