'Among The Heroes'

Passengers aboard doomed Flight 93 broke down the cockpit door with a food cart on Sept. 11, sending the hijacked airliner hurtling toward the ground in western Pennsylvania, according to a new book.

"Among the Heroes," published Tuesday by HarperCollins, claims an assistant United States attorney told relatives of those aboard the flight about the use of the food cart as a battering ram when he met with them three months ago in Princeton, N.J. The family members were not identified.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that law enforcement sources consider the food cart raid as one of the theories of what happened. But the officials said sounds heard on the cockpit voice recording are not definitive.

The cockpit voice recording has not been made public because prosecutors and other law enforcement officials believe it could still be used as evidence.

Some passengers had called relatives from cell phones Sept. 11 and learned that other hijacked airliners had already slammed into the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

Some passengers then told their loved ones they planned to storm the cockpit. But officials have never publicly confirmed whether they believe the passengers did in fact manage to thwart the hijackers or whether the plane crashed into a field for some other reason.

It is believed the hijackers were trying to fly the plane to Washington, possibly to crash into the White House or the Capitol.

Forty-four people, including four hijackers, were killed in the crash of Flight 93.

The book, written by Times reporter Jere Longman, says the entire struggle took about five minutes. According to the book's account, the passengers began trying to force their way into the cockpit around 9:58 a.m.

Longman writes, "More shouting: 'Roll it' and 'Pull it up' or 'Lift it up' or 'Turn up.' A final rushing sound could be heard, and about three minutes after 10, the tape went silent."


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