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Profile: Betty Ong

 
  

Positions that Betty Ong has held:



 

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Betty Ong actively participated in the following events:

 
  

(8:21 a.m.): Flight 11 Attendant Ong Phones in Hijack Report, Officials Doubt Validity      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Betty Ong.
Flight 11 attendant Betty Ong calls Vanessa Minter, an American Airlines reservations agent in North Carolina, using a seatback Airfone from the back of the plane. Ong speaks to Minter and an unidentified man for about two minutes. Then supervisor Nydia Gonzalez is patched in to the conference call as well. Ong says, “The cockpit's not answering. Somebody's stabbed in business class and ... I think there's mace ... that we can't breathe. I don't know, I think We're getting hijacked.” A minute later, she continues, “And the cockpit is not answering their phone. And there's somebody stabbed in business class. And there's ... we can't breathe in business class. Somebody's got mace or something ... I'm sitting in the back. Somebody's coming back from business. If you can hold on for one second, they're coming back.” As this quote shows, other flight attendants relay information from the front of the airplane to Ong sitting in the back, and she periodically waits for updates. She goes on, “I think the guys are up there [in the cockpit]. They might have gone there—jammed the way up there, or something. Nobody can call the cockpit. We can't even get inside.” The first four and a half minutes of the call is later played in a public 9/11 Commission hearing. Ong apparently continues speaking to Gonzalez and Minter until the plane crashes. [New York Observer, 2/11/04; 9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04] 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey, who has heard more recordings than have been made public, says that some officials on the ground greet her account skeptically: “They did not believe her. They said, ‘Are you sure?’ They asked her to confirm that it wasn't air-rage. Our people on the ground were not prepared for a hijacking.” [New York Times, 4/18/04 Sources: Bob Kerrey]
People and organizations involved: Betty Ong, Nydia Gonzalez, Vanessa Minter
          

(8:23 a.m.): Flight 11 Attendant Ong's Hijacking Account Forwarded to American Airlines Headquarters      Complete 911 Timeline

       Nydia Gonzalez, an American Airlines supervisor with expertise on security matters, is patched in to a call with flight attendant Betty Ong on Flight 11. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04] At 8:27 a.m., Gonzalez calls Craig Marquis, a manager at American Airlines' headquarters. Gonzalez holds the phone to Ong to one ear, and the phone to Marquis to the other. [Wall Street Journal, 10/15/01; New York Observer, 2/11/04] Gonzalez talks to Marquis continuously until Flight 11 crashes. The first four minutes of this call are later played before the 9/11 Commission. Marquis quickly says, “I'm assuming they've declared an emergency. Let me get ATC [air traffic control] on here. Stand by. ... Okay, We're contacting the flight crew now and We're ... We're also contacting ATC.” In the four recorded minutes, Gonzalez relays that Ong is saying the hijackers from seats 2A and 2B are in the cockpit with the pilots. There are no doctors on board. All the first class passengers have been moved to the coach section. The airplane is flying very erratically. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Betty Ong, Nydia Gonzalez, American Airlines, Craig Marquis
          

(Between 8:27-8:30 a.m.): Ong Gives Flight 11 Details; Seating Accounts Differ      Complete 911 Timeline

       Craig Marquis, listening to information coming from flight attendant Betty Ong on Flight 11, calls American Airlines' system operations control center in Fort Worth. He says, “She said two flight attendants had been stabbed, one was on oxygen. A passenger had his throat slashed and looked dead and they had gotten into the cockpit.” He relays that Ong said the four hijackers had come from first-class seats: 2A, 2B, 9A, and 9B. She said the wounded passenger was in seat 10B. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] Note that this conflicts with the seats flight attendant Amy Sweeney gives for the hijackers at about the same time (see (Before 8:26 a.m.)): 9D, 9G, and 10B. By 8:27 a.m., this information is passed to Gerard Arpey, the effective head of American Airlines that morning. By 9:59 a.m., counterterrorism “tsar” Richard Clarke and other top officials receive the information. [Clarke, 2004, pp 13-14]
People and organizations involved: Betty Ong, Craig Marquis, Gerard Arpey, Richard A. Clarke, American Airlines
          

(8:28 a.m.): Flight 11 Is a Confirmed Hijacking; NORAD Still Not Notified      Complete 911 Timeline

       American Airlines manager Craig Marquis is talking to Nydia Gonzalez, who in turn is talking to flight attendant Betty Ong on Flight 11. Marquis says, “We contacted air traffic control, they are going to handle this as a confirmed hijacking. So they're moving all the traffic out of this aircraft's way. ... He turned his transponder off, so we don't have a definitive altitude for him. We're just going by ... They seem to think that they have him on a primary radar. They seem to think that he is descending.” This transmission further indicates that Boston flight control believes that Flight 11 has been hijacked by this time. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04]
People and organizations involved: Boston flight control, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Nydia Gonzalez, Betty Ong, Craig Marquis
          

8:30 a.m.: American Airlines Vice President Informed of Hijacking      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Gerard Arpey.
Gerard Arpey (American Airlines' executive vice president for operations) learns from manager Joe Burdepelly that Flight 11 may have been hijacked. Burdepelly tells Arpey that he has been told that another manager, Craig Marquis, is in contact with flight attendant Betty Ong on the hijacked flight. Arpey learns that Ong has said two other attendants have been stabbed, that two or three passengers are in the cockpit, and more. Arpey is the effective head of American Airlines during the early phase of the crisis, because the company's president is still at home and out of contact. [9/11 Commission Report, 1/27/04] At some point before Flight 11 crashes, Arpey is told about the “We have some planes” comment made by the hijackers. [USA Today, 8/13/02]
People and organizations involved: Betty Ong, Gerard Arpey, Craig Marquis, Joe Burdepelly, American Airlines
          

(8:36 a.m.): Flight 11 Attendants Ong and Sweeney Report Plane Maneuvers      Complete 911 Timeline

       On Flight 11, flight attendant Betty Ong reports that the plane tilts all the way on one side and then becomes horizontal again. Flight attendant Amy Sweeney reports that the plane has begun a rapid descent. [ABC News, 7/18/02] Sweeney also says that the hijackers are Middle Easterners. [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/23/04]
People and organizations involved: Madeline ("Amy") Sweeney, Betty Ong
          

(8:45-8:46 a.m.): Flight 11 Attendants Calm as End Approaches      Complete 911 Timeline

       Flight attendant Amy Sweeney is still on the phone with Michael Woodward, describing conditions on Flight 11. The plane is nearing New York City, but the coach section passengers are still quiet, apparently unaware a hijacking is in progress. Woodward asks Sweeney to look out of the window and see if she can tell where they are. She replies, “I see the water. I see the building. I see buildings.” She tells him the plane is flying very low. Then she takes a slow, deep breath and slowly, calmly says, “Oh my God!” Woodward hears a loud click, and then silence. [ABC News, 7/18/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01] Flight attendant Betty Ong, on another phone, apparently does not realize what is about to happen. She is repeatedly saying, “Pray for us. Pray for us,” before her phone call comes to a halt. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Betty Ong, Michael Woodward, Hajji Abdul Qadir
          

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