American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757, left Washington’s Dulles Airport at 08:20 EDT. Sixty-four people were going to Los Angeles, including four flight attendants and two pilots.
Eyewitnesses on the ground saw the plane approach Washington from the southwest. When it was just outside the city, the plane made a 270-degree turn and headed straight for the Pentagon. It crashed into the building, causing a five-story section to collapse in flames.
Everyone on the plane, plus 190 people in the Pentagon, died. Reporters, trying their best to get on top of the story, initially had no idea it was a third hijacked plane which had caused the massive Pentagon fire.
Author and TV commentator Barbara Olson, wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, called her husband twice during the ordeal. She reported the hijackers were armed with knife-like instruments and asked her husband, "What should I tell the pilot to do?"
The pilot, of course, was no longer in control of the plane.