September 11th: Final Moments of Flight 93

In the final minutes of doomed United Air Lines Flight 93, September 11 hijackers try to shake off passengers attempting to take control of the plane as it flies over Pennsylvania.

"I don't want to die," a passenger is heard to cry out and a hijacker says, "Shall we finish it off?"

Moments later, the plane hurtles out of control to the ground, according to a cockpit voice recording played for a jury on Wednesday by federal prosecutors seeking the execution of Zacarias Moussaoui.

The prosecutors figuratively placed the jury aboard the doomed flight for its last heart-wrenching moments.

One passenger tells the hijackers, "Please, don't hurt me." Amid sounds of a struggle, a hijacker asks, "There is something, a fight?" The response is, "Yeah."

The last sound heard as the plane nears the ground: "Allah is the greatest."

Then silence.

The flight, one of four hijacked on September 11, 2001, crashed in a Pennsylvania field as passengers tried to retake it.

The cockpit voice recording had not been played publicly before.

The government rested its case just before 11:30 a.m. ET after the judge rejected prosecutors' request to display a running presentation of the names and photos of all of the nearly 3,000 victims of September 11.

Prosecutors were instead allowed to show one large poster with the pictures of all but 92 of the victims.

There were three victim-impact witnesses who gave testimony following the broadcast of the Flight 93 tape in the courtroom.

The judge sent the jury home for the day and the defense will begin its case on Thursday. As he left the courtroom, "God curse you all!"

'Bomb on board'

The recording began at 9:31 a.m. with the hijackers' voice clearly stating "ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain ... we have a bomb on board, so sit."

For the next few minutes, passengers are repeatedly told, in English, "Don't move," "Shut up" "Sit," and "down down down."

The hijackers alternated between Arabic and English.

As the tape proceeded, it was clear that passengers were gaining the upper hand.

A voice of a hijacker, presumably inside the cockpit, says, "They want to get in." The voice continues, "Hold from within." At 10 a.m., there is a voice that says, "I am injured."

Sounds of a struggle can be heard. At that point, the plane appears to go out of control. There are sounds of the hijackers trying to shake off the passengers. The plane pitches back and forth.

As the jury heard the recording, prosecutors played a video presentation that simultaneously showed the flight path, speed and heading in a mockup similar to a flight simulator.

At 10:02 a.m., a hijacker says, "Give it to me. Give it to me." At 10:03 a.m. the plane dives amid crashing sounds and the tape stops.

Capitol was target

The plane had been headed for the U.S. Capitol, according to September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Moussaoui is the only person charged in this country in connection with the September 11 attacks. The jury deciding his fate has already declared him eligible for the death penalty by determining that his actions caused at least one death on 9/11.

Even though he was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks, the jury ruled that lies told by Moussaoui to federal agents a month before the attacks kept them from identifying and stopping some of the hijackers.

Now they must decide whether Moussaoui deserves execution or life in prison.

Defense lawyers say the jury should spare Moussaoui's life because of his limited role in the attacks, evidence that he is mentally ill and because his execution would only play into his dream of martyrdom.

After several days of testimony related to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the focus shifted Tuesday to the Pentagon.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema issued an order requiring an unidentified individual to be produced for testimony.

The order apparently applied to would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid -- defense lawyers issued a subpoena last week seeking his testimony. Prosecutors had opposed the subpoena.

Moussaoui testified previously that he and Reid were going to hijack a fifth plane on September 11 and fly it into the White House. The defense lawyers, who have tried to discredit their client's credibility, have said Moussaoui is exaggerating his role to inflate his role in history.

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