“Beware cockpit intrusion. Two aircraft hit world trade center.”
This cryptic message appeared at 9:23 a.m. on Captain Jason Dahl’s in-flight computer screen Sept. 11, 2001. By 9:28, the terrorists had taken control of United Flight 93. However, a heroic group of passengers aboard the flight fought back against their captors, in what has been called “America’s first strike back against terrorism.”
What really happened aboard Flight 93 over Pennsylvania that day?
Recently revealed critical details have been painstakingly combined to create a moving and inspiring documentary – “Portrait of Courage: The Untold Story of Flight 93.” This unforgettable one-hour special tribute hosted by actor Michael Flynn will make its world premiere tonight at 7 p.m. EST/PST (6 p.m. MST/CST) on the i Network?formerly PAX-TV. An encore presentation will air on i Network Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. EST/PST (7 p.m. MST/CST).
This docudrama features exclusive interviews, the actual voice recording from the Cleveland Ohio Air Traffic Control Center, and newly released forensic evidence of what occurred during the final 30 minutes of that fateful flight.
Produced by Grizzly Adams Productions in association with Total Living Network, the documentary is based in part on the book “Fighting Back” by Deena Burnett, wife of passenger Tom Burnett. Mrs. Burnett shares the moving details of the four in-flight calls from her husband that morning. When she informed her husband of the fate of the earlier planes, he realized the peril that faced Flight 93. Tom Burnett and fellow passengers began formulating a plan to take back the plane.
Flynn shares compelling details about those on board: a strategic business planner, an NCAA judo champion, an ex-detective, a former paratrooper with the 101st Airborne, a Navy veteran, a skilled pilot, an emergency medical technician, and two men trained in hand-to-hand combat, among others. Recollections by loved ones of their final conversations reveal the heroic determination of the passengers that prevented Flight 93 from flying into the U.S. Capitol.
“It was almost as if someone had handpicked a group of people that could carry out an insurrection against the hijackers,” says Washington correspondent Gregory Gordon of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
In the program, friends and family members of the passengers and crew share personal recollections about the unique talents and abilities their heroic loved ones possessed, making them a distinctively gifted group – exceptionally prepared for the good versus evil battle in the sky that day. Interviewees include Deena Burnett, Sandy Dahl – wife of Flight 93’s Captain Jason Dahl; airline pilot David Dosch, Captain Dahl’s best friend; Lorne Lyles – who received a phone call from his wife, flight attendant Cee-Cee Lyles; and Kenny Nacke – whose brother is believed to have been a key player in the passenger revolt. These and others share their insights and sustaining faith, along with telephone operator Lisa Jefferson, who shared an emotional recital of the Lord’s Prayer with Todd Beamer before his final call to arms, “Let’s roll!”
“The more we learn about the terrorists’ plans and targets for that day, the greater the significance of the valor displayed by the passengers and crew,” says supervising producer Chuck Sellier. “Telling their story is one way we can commemorate their lives and the ultimate sacrifice they made for us.”
Grizzly Adams Productions, named after its long-running NBC-TV series, “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams,” has over the past 30 years produced more than 500 family friendly TV specials, features, series, and episodes for NBC, CBS, PAX, Discovery and other networks.
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