Wife recounts last 9/11 phone call

(September 8, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Arkansan Deena Burnett was living in California when her husband, Tom, called her by cell phone from a United Airlines plane that terrorists had hijacked. Burnett, a former Delta Airlines flight attendant, was home with the couple's three children. She took detailed notes on the four telephone conversations she had with her husband before the plane crashed in western Pennsylvania. This is her unedited written account. The times are Pacific Daylight Time. 6:27 a.m. cell phone call: Deena: Hello Tom: Deena Deena: Tom, are you O.K.? Tom: No, I'm not. I'm on an airplane that has been hijacked. Deena: hijacked? Tom: Yes, They just knifed a guy. Deena: A passenger? Tom: Yes. Deena: Where are you? Are you in the air? Tom: Yes, yes, just listen. Our airplane has been hijacked. It's United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. We are in the air. The hijackers have already knifed a guy, one of them has a gun, they are telling us there is a bomb on board, please call the authorities. He hung up. 6:31 I call 911 6:34 The phone rang in on call waiting, Tom's cell phone. Deena: Hello Tom: They're in the cockpit. The guy they knifed is dead. Deena: He's dead? Tom: Yes. I tried to help him, but I couldn't get a pulse. Deena: Tom, they are hijacking planes all up and down the east coast. They are taking them and hitting designated targets. They've already hit both towers of the World Trade Center. Tom: They're talking about crashing this plane. (a pause) Oh my God. It's a suicide mission...(he then tells people sitting around him) Deena: Who are you talking to? Tom: My seatmate. Do you know which airline is involved? Deena: No, they don't know if they're commercial airlines or not. The news reporters are speculating cargo planes, private planes and commercial. No one knows. Tom: How may planes are there? Deena: They're not sure, at least three. Maybe more. Tom: O.K....O.K....Do you know who is involved? Deena: No. Tom: We're turning back toward New York. We're going back to the World Trade Center. No, wait, we're turning back the other way. We're going south. Deena: What do you see? Tom: Just a minute, I'm looking. I don't see anything, we're over a rural area. It's just fields. I've gotta go. He hung up. 6:45 a.m. Tom: Deena Deena: Tom, you're O.K. (I thought at this point he had just survived the Pentagon plane crash). Tom: No, I'm not. Deena: They just hit the Pentagon. Tom: (tells people sitting around him "They just hit the Pentagon.") Tom: O.K....O.K. What else can you tell me? Deena: They think five airplanes have been hijacked. One is still on the ground. They believe all of them are commercial planes. I haven't heard them say which airline, but all of them have originated on the east coast. Tom: Do you know who is involved? Deena: No Tom: What is the probability of their having a bomb on board? I don't think they have one. I think they're just telling us that for crowd control. Deena: A plane can survive a bomb if it's in the right place. Tom: Did you call the authorities? Deena: Yes, they didn't know anything about your plane. Tom: They're talking about crashing this plane into the ground. We have to do something. I'm putting a plan together. Deena: Who's helping you? Tom: Different people. Several people. There's a group of us. Don't worry. I'll call you back. 6:54 Deena: Tom? Tom: Hi. Anything new? Deena: No Tom: Where are the kids? Deena: They're fine. They're sitting at the table having breakfast. They're asking to talk to you. Tom: Tell them I'll talk to them later Dena: I called your parents. They know your plane has been hijacked. Tom: Oh...you shouldn't have worried them. How are they doing? Deena: They're O.K.. Mary and Martha are with them. Tom: Good. ( a long quiet pause) We're waiting until we're over a rural area. We're going to take back the airplane. Deena: No! Sit down, be still, be quiet, and don't draw attention to yourself! (The exact words taught to me by Delta Airlines Flight Attendant Training). Tom: Deena! If they're going to crash this plane into the ground, we're going to have do something! Deena: What about the authorities? Tom: We can't wait for the authorities. I don't know what they could do anyway. It's up to us. I think we can do it. Deena: What do you want me to do? Tom: Pray, Deena, just pray. Deena: (after a long pause) I love you. Tom: Don't worry, we're going to do something. He hung up