Nation's air traffic grinds to a halt
BY SHARON COHEN Associated Press
Sep 12, 2001
Airline passengers who were diverted to Tulsa watch the news
coverage of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington at Tulsa International Airport.
MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
CHICAGO -- Air traffic around the nation was halted Tuesday for the first time in history as
stunned travelers watched televised pictures of the smoking ruins of New York's World Trade
Center and the Pentagon, both attacked by terrorists.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered all outbound flights grounded following the
fiery twin disaster at the World Trade Center that occurred about 8 a.m. CDT.
The FAA said the ban would not be lifted until 11 a.m. CDT Wednesday, at the earliest.
All domestic commercial flights had reached their destinations by early Tuesday afternoon,
the FAA said.
Some airports also were evacuated.
"Anybody that is planning on going somewhere isn't going anywhere, at least for now," said
James Kerr, deputy director at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.
Thousands of passengers gathered around TV sets at airports, staring silently at images of
smoke billowing over Manhattan's skyline, flames shooting from Pentagon windows and people
covered with soot running in the streets.
"I'm sitting here with shivers down my spine," said Dan Weiland of Lewisville, Texas, an
American Airlines passenger at Boston's Logan International Airport.
He said he called his children to reassure them.
Steve Hyatt, 55, of San Antonio was stunned when he heard the Balance = 30.0 pts
news at Denver International Airport. "I just felt like I went into a trance and a dream," he
"It's going to be interesting to see what our country does in light of what took place with
Pearl Harbor and comparing this to Pearl Harbor," he added.
"But who do you fight, who do you get mad at?"
Around the nation, airports were put under heightened security.
Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport were evacuated
except for essential personnel, according to airport officials.
Boston's Logan Airport -- the departure point for two of the doomed hijacked planes --
underwent a security sweep.
At Chicago's O'Hare Airport, passengers were barred from entering Balance = 20.0 pts
the gated areas, and police patrolled with dogs.
At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, concourses were closed and flights were canceled
until 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Denver's airport was closed for 24 hours, according to the media information line.
The airport's concourses were evacuated, and major roads to the airport were closed.
In New Orleans, passengers were not allowed into the airport, but it was not evacuated.
At many airports, hundreds of stranded travelers stood in long lines, waiting to call
families and friends.
"Someone is trying to make a serious statement, and I hope we do likewise," said Scott
Gilmore, 55, who had planned a trip to WashingBalance = 20.0 pts
ton, D.C., from the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Rob Taylor, 32, of Colorado Springs, Colo., learned of the canceled flights upon his arrival
"I was pretty shocked," he said. "I mean, it's turning into anger pretty quickly. I hope
they take this as a final sign that they need to be a little more hard-handed and take the
gloves off and go after these people."
Jane Locacio, 58, watched the scene on television in a standing-
room-only bar at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.
She heard the news after she got off a plane from Atlanta as she was heading to Sioux Falls,
"I think it's an act of war. I can't believe they hit the Pentagon, as well," she said. "I
hope we're up to the task."