Wife of 9/11 pilot says he was alive when plane crashed
DENVER ” The wife of one of the pilots on United Flight 93 says the cockpit recording shows her husband was alive moments before the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.
The recordings were played Wednesday at the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. It was the first time that anyone other than investigators and victims’ relatives were allowed to hear the recording.
Jason Dahl, of Ken Caryl Ranch, Colo., was a co-pilot on the flight. His wife, Sandy Dahl, said the recording showed her husband was alive, but dying, and in the cockpit with the hijackers in the plane’s final moments.
“All the reports in the press and the government had him dead in the first-class cabin on the floor before the plane was brought down,” Dahl said. “I always knew he was alive and in the cockpit with the hijackers, and I haven’t been able to say anything about it.”
Dahl and other relatives signed agreements to not disclose what was in the recordings until the jury in Moussaoui’s case heard them.
Dahl, a 45-year-old flight attendant, said she believed her husband also may have disabled the Boeing 757’s autopilot system, preventing the hijackers from setting coordinates for Washington, D.C. She said she heard horn sounds on the recording indicating the hijackers couldn’t use the system.
She said the recording showed the bravery of the flight’s seven crew members. All 33 passengers, the crew and four hijackers died in the crash.
“I don’t think any one person was more important than the other, but history has glorified four or five passengers and that’s just not what happened,” Dahl said.
Because the cockpit ceiling microphone also picked up sounds from the passenger cabin, there are multiple interpretations of the flight’s final seconds. But Sandy Dahl said she was sure she heard her husband moaning in the cockpit. She pointed to evidence that her husband’s DNA and teeth were found near the plane’s nose.
During the recording, a hijacker can be heard saying in English: “Don’t move. Shut up. Sit, sit, sit down.”
Dahl believes the hijacker was speaking to her husband.
“He was fussing at my husband,” she said. “I could tell because he was speaking in English, and he spoke Arabic anytime he was talking with the other hijackers. It’s possible they cut Jason’s throat, but maybe not deep enough, because he made moaning sounds after that. It sounded like he was trying to mess with stuff or get up, because the hijacker pilot kept telling him to stop and to sit down.”
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