Pentagon Strike Alleged Witness Account: Mare Ann Owens

Laura

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http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/display.var.624436.Top+Stories.0.html

"The day thought I was going to die"

Mare Ann Owens, a journalist with Gannett News Service - part of Newsquest's American parent company Gannett, which owns This is Local London - was driving along by the side of the Pentagon, on September 11, 2001, when a hijacked jet screamed overhead and ploughed into it. Here, she recalls the events of that horrific day and her feelings about the tragedy 12 months on.

THE sound of sudden and certain death roared in my ears as I sat lodged in gridlock on Washington Boulevard, next to the Pentagon on September 11.

Up to that moment I had only experienced shock by the news coming from New York City and frustration with the worse-than-normal traffic snarl ... but it wasn't until I heard the demon screaming of that engine that I expected to die.

Between the Pentagon's helicopter pad, which sits next to the road, and Reagan Washington National Airport a couple of miles south, aviation noise is common along my commute to the silver office towers in Rosslyn where Gannett Co Inc. were housed last autumn.

But this engine noise was different. It was too sudden, too loud, too encompassing.

Looking up didn't tell me what type of plane it was because it was so close I could only see the bottom. Realising the Pentagon was its target, I didn't think the careering, full-throttled craft would get that far. Its downward angle was too sharp, its elevation of maybe 50 feet, too low. Street lights toppled as the plane barely cleared the Interstate 395 overpass.

The thought that I was about to die was immediate and certain. This plane was going to hit me along with all the other commuters trapped on Washington Boulevard.

Gripping the steering wheel of my vibrating car, I involuntarily ducked as the wobbling plane thundered over my head. Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area just before the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon.

Still gripping the wheel, I could feel both the car and my heart jolt at the moment of impact. An instant inferno blazed about 125 yards from me. The plane, the wall and the victims disappeared under coal-black smoke, three-storey tall flames and intense heat.

I had just witnessed the mass murder of hundreds of people, maybe more.

As the thudding stopped, screams of horror and hysteria rose from the line of cars, and I became a person I didn't know. I didn't scream. Operating on instinct, I climbed out of the car. First I checked to see if I was bleeding. I wasn't. Then I tended an hysterical woman in the car ahead of mine.

Borrowing a mobile phone, I managed two quick calls; one to the office and one to my husband. Then I commenced a frantic search for a camera. I quickly clicked half the roll; careful not to take too many. I wanted to be ready for the arrival of a second plane, which I was sure would fall from the sky any minute.

As other cars began moving slowly from the area, I pulled mine over to the west guardrail and got out, camera in hand, an eye on the sky and a finger on the shutter.

Within a few minutes I gave up my vigil. Radio reports said the skies were clear, but another plane had just crashed into a Pennsylvania field. When security personnel ordered me off the scene, I didn't argue, I simply left.

I wasn't going on to the office. I was going home. I needed to see my husband, call my children, hear my small grandson's voice. The full impact of actually being alive overwhelmed me. A mere 125 yards had made me a witness instead of a casualty. Survival wasn't a miracle, it was luck ... pure luck.

Convinced I had experienced the worst life could offer, I felt like a fool after viewing the television footage from New York. This was horror, terror and evil beyond imagination. I couldn't even fathom the final death toll 10,000? 30,000? More?

The internal frenzy that had been plaguing my body finally gave way to a hushed humbleness that would last for days.

Even though I can recall each second of the Pentagon attack in vivid detail, my memories of the following hours and days are more blurred. Yet, there are some poignant moments that remain etched in my heart. Like the way my husband's voice fell silent and his jaw drew rigid as he looked at the photos I took at the scene. Or the way neighbours and colleagues replaced the customary, polite hellos with warm embraces and tears.

Tears were a common occurrence during those first couple of weeks.

Everyone seemed to have their own breaking point. Mine came while sitting in the newsroom reading USA TODAY's obituary page devoted to the people aboard American Airlines Flight 77.

The morbid thought that these passengers' last seconds of life took place over my head made my throat constrict. I cried, and in the year to come, more tears were in store.

In the months that followed, society tried to heal and learn to cope with anthrax and potential suicide bombings. Many sought therapy to soothe anguish and fears. I chose academics, cynicism, defiance and anger.

The 60s social revolutionary that lay dormant in my soul for more than 30 years resurfaced with vengeance. I didn't want to be comforted. I didn't need to feel good about myself. I was angry and proud of it. If anger wasn't a healthier state of mind, it surely was a wiser one.

I read up on the Islamic religion, Middle East culture and fanatic personalities. None of my research could help me grasp the mindset of hate so consuming that one could joyfully, callously and deliberately fly planes filled with innocents into occupied buildings.

Amazingly, a year has past since that nightmarish day.

The mountain of World Trade Centre rubble has been cleared. The Pentagon's reconstruction is almost complete. Commemorative ceremonies are being planned, but I refuse to participate. I worked too hard to dry my tears, and I won't risk letting them flow again in a staged moment of ceremony.

I still cannot bring myself to board a plane. It's not that I don't want to fly, I simply can't.

When an aircraft appears on the horizon, all I see is a missile, and time has done nothing to change that.
 

anart

A Disturbance in the Force
Why are so many eyewitnesses absolutely sure that there was going to be a second plane coming in to hit the pentagon? Was it because there had been 2 planes that hit the Towers earlier, or was it due to whatever signal was sent out over the area when the first plane came in? It's so odd to hear so many different people say things like, "I wanted to be ready for the arrival of a second plane, which I was sure would fall from the sky any minute". Something is going on here, and I can't put my finger on it.
 
I know people (non-military, non-government) that lived and worked in DC proper that day and their account was everyone was freaked out constantly looking up jumping at any seemingly overhead sound afraid that the WTC and Pentagon were just the beginning of a continuing barrage of suicide "plane" attacks.
 

Laura

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All of these stories stink to high heaven. I hope that some of you can start digging into them and finding out what fits and what doesn't... they need some serious analysis.
 

Vulcan59

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Anart said:
Why are so many eyewitnesses absolutely sure that there was going to be a second plane coming in to hit the pentagon?
If it was a laser guided missile that hit the Pentagon, then perhaps it would make sense. Perhaps the "spotter" plane illiuminating the target may have been around the vicinity. It was needed to paint the target with it's laser for pin-point accuracy and perhaps a number of the witnesses could have seen it?? I will read thru the rest of the witnesses account to see if any of them heard or saw a second plane in the vicinity.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Laura said:
All of these stories stink to high heaven. I hope that some of you can start digging into them and finding out what fits and what doesn't... they need some serious analysis.
http://www.gannett.com/go/newswatch/2001/september/nw0914-1.htm

Mary Ann Owen: One of the TEN Gannett journalists/editors that witnessed the plane.

Again, Dave McGowan:
Now, it is my understanding that the Tattoo theorists claim, for the most part, not to be 'coincidence theorists.' So, I guess that the question that I have is this: exactly how many Gannett reporters and editors does it take to make a conspiracy? I could accept that maybe two or three of them might have been, purely by chance, in position to witness the attack on the Pentagon. Hell, being an open-minded kind of guy, I might even be willing to go as high as four or five. But ten?! Ten?! What are the odds that ten of the alleged Pentagon witnesses would be from the same news organization?

Perhaps some readers are thinking that maybe there is a simple explanation for this statistical aberration -- like maybe the Gannett building is ideally located to provide a view of the attack, or maybe everyone was riding together on a Gannett ride-sharing bus. But neither of those appear to be the case, since only one of the ten Gannett journalists claims to have witnessed the attack from his office, while all the rest maintain that they just happened to be positioned in various strategic locations near the Pentagon. So unless USA Today staff was holding its annual company picnic on the Pentagon lawn that morning, it seems to me that there is something seriously wrong with this story.

Amazingly enough, no fewer than five of those ten Gannett reporters and editors (Benedetto, Munsey, Narayanan, Sucherman and Walter) were able to specifically identify the plane that they saw as an American Airlines jet, and a sixth (Faram) managed to capture the only known photographic images of something vaguely resembling a twisted piece of wreckage from an American Airlines jet! I have to note here that it's a damn good thing that we had proactive and incredibly observant reporters like the USA Today staff swarming all over the scene of a pending national tragedy. I guess that when you're a seasoned professional, you just have a sixth sense about where to be and when to be there. That's probably why Eugenio Hernandez and Dave Winslow, two Associated Press reporters, were also on the scene to witness the attack. Hernandez, by the way, is a video journalist -- but not the kind of video journalist who shot any actual video footage.
 

Laura

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Yeah, and when you read the "witness reports" you get all worked up and emotional about all the lives lost, the people saving going on and everything... but then, you read this:

http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=1182

and you KNOW that what they are saying can't be true.
 

thorbiorn

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Below I have divided the essay of Mary Ann Owen written about a year after the event. The section used by What Really Happened is underlined.

[Introduction by This is Local London]
This is Local London said:
"The day thought I was going to die"
Mare Ann Owens, a journalist with Gannett News Service - part of Newsquest's American parent company Gannett, which owns This is Local London - was driving along by the side of the Pentagon, on September 11, 2001, when a hijacked jet screamed overhead and ploughed into it. Here, she recalls the events of that horrific day and her feelings about the tragedy 12 months on.
mary_ann_owens2.23366.full.jpg

A photo taken by Mary moments after the jet hit The Pentagon
[The noise of the plane]
Mary Ann Owens said:
THE sound of sudden and certain death roared in my ears as I sat lodged in gridlock on Washington Boulevard, next to the Pentagon on September 11.
Up to that moment I had only experienced shock by the news coming from New York City and frustration with the worse-than-normal traffic snarl ... but it wasn't until I heard the demon screaming of that engine that I expected to die.
Between the Pentagon's helicopter pad, which sits next to the road, and Reagan Washington National Airport a couple of miles south, aviation noise is common along my commute to the silver office towers in Rosslyn where Gannett Co Inc. were housed last autumn.
[The plane crash]
Mary Ann Owens said:
But this engine noise was different. It was too sudden, too loud, too encompassing. Looking up didn't tell me what type of plane it was because it was so close I could only see the bottom. Realising the Pentagon was its target, I didn't think the careering, full-throttled craft would get that far. Its downward angle was too sharp, its elevation of maybe 50 feet, too low. Street lights toppled as the plane barely cleared the Interstate 395 overpass.
The thought that I was about to die was immediate and certain. This plane was going to hit me along with all the other commuters trapped on Washington Boulevard.
Gripping the steering wheel of my vibrating car, I involuntarily ducked as the wobbling plane thundered over my head. Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area just before the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon.
Below an image of the Pentagon area with Washington Boulevard/27
pentagon_map_0913.gif

[The explosion]
Mary Ann Owens said:
Still gripping the wheel, I could feel both the car and my heart jolt at the moment of impact. An instant inferno blazed about 125 yards from me. The plane, the wall and the victims disappeared under coal-black smoke, three-storey tall flames and intense heat.
Several comments before continuing.
Mary Ann Owen: "Looking up didn't tell me what type of plane it was because it was so close I could only see the bottom."
But inspite of this she claims to have had enough time to notice that:
"Its downward angle was too sharp" and
"Street lights toppled as the plane barely cleared the Interstate 395 overpass."
" the wobbling plane"
From the bottom one would be able to see the silhouette, engines if on the wing or nose etc. So if we give her the benefit of the doubt one could reconstruct the first sentence and say something like: "Looking up didn't tell me what type of plane it was because"
1. Well, listen guys, I have a Masters in Arts, I only know the differences between a balloon, a helicopter, a jet and a propeller.
2. I don't fly that often and the type or brand of a plane just simply doesn't interest me, I couldn't care less.
3. Yeah, there was something weird about it, but the authorities say it was Flight 77, so no doubt it must have been
4. It came very fast and frankly I was scared to death. I noticed a couple of details like I described, but this about the type just evaded me totally. Mainly I saw it from the front and then later when it had passed from the back.
5. Really, I didn't see it before it was right over. What it did before it came that far, I reconstructed from the lamp posts I saw when I got out of the car and from other witness reports.

For emphasis, the above five proposed responses are my attempts to make logical sense out of what Mary Ann Owens is writing, in fact none of them have to be true. And as far as the essay of Mary Ann Owens goes, I find her report interesting reading. She is a skilled writer and has a pen with a certain zest to it.

Mary Ann Owens: "Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area". If her distance was 125 yards and the speed was, lets say 300 mph, or 133m/s, then she had less than 9/10 of a second to raise and observe the scraping of the helicopter area.

But as it was alleged before that the object she saw was the lamp post clipper, how could the plane scrape the helicopter area?

When one looks at the photos and maps see one photo below, one gets the idea that she most likely refers to an area next to the heli-pad not the actual small square with "H".
On the map above the helicopter pad was visible. On the photo below one can also see the pad. as well as the pink colored liight pole/lamp post clipper path. The only way her object could have scraped the pad is if she saw the object following the green line, but she just wrote that it was a post clipper which would indicate a path more to the South. Anyway although it does confuse the issue, it could be an acceptable inaccuracy since for the readers in UK the 50 yards of difference would not make too much difference.
flight_path.jpg


For comparison:
http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=1178
Steve Anderson said:
"I watched in horror as the plane flew at treetop level, banked slightly to the left, drug it's wing along the ground and slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon."
So Steve Anderson and Mary Ann Owens are giving a similar description.

Perhaps the banking to the left, if it occurred, was due to the object trying to avoid the generator. Frank Probst to Military City said: " The plane's right wing went through a generator trailer "like butter," Probst said. The starboard engine hit a low cement wall and blew apart."

Mary Ann Owens:"Gripping the steering wheel of my vibrating car, I involuntarily ducked as the wobbling plane thundered over my head"
Another witness, Christine Peterson, who must have been close to her at the time said: "The car shook as the plane flew over."

If a plane was just above the car of Mary Ann Owens and if it had been a B 757, there would very likely have been more wind turbulence. However maybe she had a heavy 5, 8 l American car while Christine Peterson was driving a smaller and lighter imported 1600cc. That would, all else equal, make a difference too, just as would a difference in position on the road with respect to the object. For more discussion of what might be possible below an aircraft there are some reflections in the Christine Peterson thread.

In confirmation of the "wobbling" of the plane and earlier on the "the street lights" that Mary Ann mentions, Asework Hagos in the article from the Guardian has this to say: "It was tilting its wings up and down like it was trying to balance. It hit some lampposts on the way in."

Mary Ann Owens 'the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon.'

These were the reactions of some other alleged observers:
Terrance Kean in The Washington Post:
http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=1148
The Washingon Post September 12th said:
"The nose penetrated into the portico. And then it sort of disappeared, and there was fire and smoke everywhere. . . . It was very sort of surreal."
http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=1154
Christine Peterson said:
"My mind could not comprehend what had happened. Where did the plane go? For some reason I expected it to bounce off the Pentagon wall in pieces. But there was no plane visible, only huge billows of smoke and torrents of fire."
http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php?topic=1147
Hearsay from Tom Hovis who said:
"The wings came off as if it went through an arch way leaving a hole in the side of the building it seems a little larger than the wide body of the aircraft."
Mary Ann Owens: "The plane, the wall and the victims disappeared under coal-black smoke, three-storey tall flames and intense heat." She leaves the reader in the dark of how little damage was done to the wall, without actually lying. We are left with the smoke unable to see through. It is a clever desription. The picture she has included with her essay also just shows smoke, the Pentagon is farther away. If one compares the endings of the crash accounts of Elaine McCusker, Steve Anderson, and Mary Ann Owens, it is noticeable that they are very careful when it comes to describing the damage to the building. After the object entered the building it became an internal issue.

The report continues:

[My reaction on the scene]
Mary Ann Owens said:
I had just witnessed the mass murder of hundreds of people, maybe more.
As the thudding stopped, screams of horror and hysteria rose from the line of cars, and I became a person I didn't know. I didn't scream. Operating on instinct, I climbed out of the car. First I checked to see if I was bleeding. I wasn't. Then I tended an hysterical woman in the car ahead of mine.
Borrowing a mobile phone, I managed two quick calls; one to the office and one to my husband. Then I commenced a frantic search for a camera. I quickly clicked half the roll; careful not to take too many. I wanted to be ready for the arrival of a second plane, which I was sure would fall from the sky any minute.
As other cars began moving slowly from the area, I pulled mine over to the west guardrail and got out, camera in hand, an eye on the sky and a finger on the shutter.
Within a few minutes I gave up my vigil. Radio reports said the skies were clear, but another plane had just crashed into a Pennsylvania field. When security personnel ordered me off the scene, I didn't argue, I simply left.
[Later in the day]
Mary Ann Owens said:
I wasn't going on to the office. I was going home. I needed to see my husband, call my children, hear my small grandson's voice. The full impact of actually being alive overwhelmed me. A mere 125 yards had made me a witness instead of a casualty. Survival wasn't a miracle, it was luck ... pure luck.
Convinced I had experienced the worst life could offer, I felt like a fool after viewing the television footage from New York. This was horror, terror and evil beyond imagination. I couldn't even fathom the final death toll 10,000? 30,000? More?
The internal frenzy that had been plaguing my body finally gave way to a hushed humbleness that would last for days.
[Reactions during the following weeks and months]
Mary Ann Owens said:
Even though I can recall each second of the Pentagon attack in vivid detail, my memories of the following hours and days are more blurred. Yet, there are some poignant moments that remain etched in my heart. Like the way my husband's voice fell silent and his jaw drew rigid as he looked at the photos I took at the scene. Or the way neighbours and colleagues replaced the customary, polite hellos with warm embraces and tears.
Tears were a common occurrence during those first couple of weeks.
Everyone seemed to have their own breaking point. Mine came while sitting in the newsroom reading USA TODAY's obituary page devoted to the people aboard American Airlines Flight 77.
The morbid thought that these passengers' last seconds of life took place over my head made my throat constrict. I cried, and in the year to come, more tears were in store.
Comment:
The reaction of her husband may have two reasons. He was shocked to see how close she really was to the crash, explosion, the huge fire and smoke and/or he was shocked to see how little of the alleged plane that was visible as well as the way it had penetrated.

[Efforts to heal]
Mary Ann Owens said:
In the months that followed, society tried to heal and learn to cope with anthrax and potential suicide bombings. Many sought therapy to soothe anguish and fears. I chose academics, cynicism, defiance and anger.
The 60s social revolutionary that lay dormant in my soul for more than 30 years resurfaced with vengeance. I didn't want to be comforted. I didn't need to feel good about myself. I was angry and proud of it. If anger wasn't a healthier state of mind, it surely was a wiser one.
I read up on the Islamic religion, Middle East culture and fanatic personalities. None of my research could help me grasp the mindset of hate so consuming that one could joyfully, callously and deliberately fly planes filled with innocents into occupied buildings.
[A year later]
Mary Ann Owens said:
Amazingly, a year has past since that nightmarish day.
The mountain of World Trade Centre rubble has been cleared. The Pentagon's reconstruction is almost complete. Commemorative ceremonies are being planned, but I refuse to participate. I worked too hard to dry my tears, and I won't risk letting them flow again in a staged moment of ceremony.
I still cannot bring myself to board a plane. It's not that I don't want to fly, I simply can't.
When an aircraft appears on the horizon, all I see is a missile, and time has done nothing to change that.
The story about the camera that Mary Ann Owens refers to is found better described in a section that is included in the Introduction page 2:
http://www.gannett.com/go/newswatch/2001/september/nw0914-1.htm
Gannet News Service said:
"IN THE TERROR AND TRAGEDY OF THE ATTACK ON AMERICA,
GANNETT PEOPLE RESPOND AS THIS DEMOCRACY REQUIRES
By Phil Currie, Senior Vice President/News
Mary Ann Owens, a newsroom assistant at Gannett News Service, was driving her car alongside the Pentagon Tuesday morning. Suddenly, an American Airlines plane hijacked by terrorists passed some 50 feet above her car and crashed into the building. Smoke and flames engulfed the west wall.
''At first no one moved,'' she later wrote for GNS. ''Then the debris began falling over the cars.'' Stalled in traffic, motorists pulled their cars aside to let emergency vehicles pass.
Mary Ann helped calm one woman who was screaming. Her own hands shaking, she called her husband. Then she turned to her role as a journalist.
''I went from car to car asking if anyone had a camera. Four cars down, a woman had a disposable camera. She asked for $20. I paid. An officer in uniform yelled for me to get back in my car. I snapped pictures of the carnage from my car as I was being directed away.''
Later, one of her photos from the scene moved on the wire for use in Gannett newspapers."
Mary Ann Owens has some information which one can find support for elsewhere. Although she apparently believes all she is told about what hit the Pentagon, she does not try to convince anyone what it was, she writes, that she did not see what type of plane it was. Her report does leave some doubt about whether she reported all that she saw and saw all that she reported. In the Wave series or books there are some accounts of people, who did not see what was in front of them. Is Mary Ann Owens such a case?

There is no evidence for a B 757 or a # 77. Several of her statements indicate that it was something else.

thorbiorn
 
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