Was this the FIFTH 9/11 plane? The crew of United 23 reveal that their 767 was raided by the FBI and grounded
The captain of a United Airlines flight scheduled to take off from New York’s JFK airport on the morning of 9/11 has said he believes his plane was intended to be the fifth plane in the terrorist plot.
Tom Mannello was sitting on the tarmac in the cockpit of United Flight 23 at 9 a.m., waiting for takeoff, when air traffic control ordered all flights to their gates.
Mannello later learned that box cutters had been found on a plane parked at the neighboring gate, and believes a ground crew assisting the terrorists took the wrong plane, foiling any attack attempt.
“There’s a good chance someone was plotting to try and use our plane as a weapon of mass destruction,” he said. TMZ INVESTIGATES: 9/11: THE FIFTH PLANE, which airs Mondays at 9:00 PM ET on Fox.
United 23 did not appear in the official 9/11 Commission report, and there were never any confirmed arrests of those on board. US officials have not commented on long-standing speculation about the flight as a possible fifth plane planned for an attack.
Tom Mannello was the captain aboard United Flight 23, which was waiting on the tarmac of JFK for takeoff when the second plane hit the Twin Towers. All aircraft were then ordered to return to their gates
The World Trade Center towers billow with smoke on September 11, 2001, after the second plane hit at 9:03 a.m.
The September 11, 2001 attacks remain the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history, killing 2,977 people in four separate attacks.
The five planes of 9/11?
American Airlines Flight 11 takes off from Boston, bound for Los Angeles, with five hijackers on board.
At 8:46 a.m., it crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
United Airlines Flight 175 departs Boston, also bound for Los Angeles, with five hijackers on board.
At 9:03 a.m. it crashes into the south tower of the WTC.
American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Dulles, outside Washington, D.C., bound for Los Angeles, with five hijackers on board.
At 9:37 a.m. it crashes into the Pentagon.
United flight 93 departs Newark, New Jersey after a delay due to routine traffic. It was bound for San Francisco and has four hijackers on board.
At 10:02 a.m., it plows into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers staged a riot and brought it down. The intended target would be the White House or the Capitol.
United Flight 23 stood on the tarmac at JFK, waiting in line to leave for Los Angeles.
At 9:08 a.m., New York Air Traffic Control announced there would be no takeoff from the airport, so Flight 23 returned to the gate.
Four planes crashed that morning.
American Airlines Flight 11 departed from Boston for LA and crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.
United Airlines Flight 175 also departed Boston 15 minutes after the AA flight, bound for LA: It crashed into the South Tower of the WTC at 9:03 a.m.
At this point United 23 were on the tarmac and were told to return to the gate.
At 9:37 AM, American Airlines Flight 77, taking off from Washington DC, crashed into the Pentagon.
And finally, at 10:02 a.m., United Flight 93, which had taken off from Newark en route to San Francisco, was shot down in a Pennsylvania field. Analysts now think the hijackers were aiming for the White House or the Capitol.
Sandy Thorngren, a flight attendant on United 23, told the TMZ filmmakers, “I definitely think Flight 23 was the fifth plane.”
Thorngren said that after they returned to the gate, the passengers disembarked and the crew were interviewed by the FBI.
“They wanted to take us to show us a line of people at the Port Authority,” she said in a preview clip of the documentary obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com.
“They put us all in a van, a van with no windows. I felt like we were being snuck into this van. And drove to the Port Authority offices where everyone – I mean, gates were locked and guarded by armored military personnel who had machine guns, or whatever guns they used.
‘We were taken to the one room with those double windows where you could see in but not out.
“And they asked us if we could identify any of the people behind that window.”
The documentary makers claim that four passengers traveling in first class were reported as suspicious, but no one was ever arrested.
Mannello said he later learned box cutters had been found on the plane parked next to his, and he suspects a hijacking team had help on the ground, but they had the wrong plane.
“The chief pilot reported to me that they found two box cutters in the seat pockets in the first class on the plane next door, one of which was number one in the back,” Mannello told the TMZ team.
Sandy Thorngren, a flight attendant on the plane, said she was convinced the plane would be hijacked on 9/11
John McCain is seen holding up a copy of the 9/11 Commission Report. The report makes no mention of United 23
“If someone was working with them on the ground, they just made a mistake and put the box cutters on the wrong plane.
“You have people who clean the plane, people who load food on the plane, who have access to the plane.
“If someone worked with the group, they could have been placed there.
“It wouldn’t be the hardest thing in the world to get on a plane like that.
“It’s the only thing that makes me think there’s a good chance someone was plotting to try and use our plane as a weapon of mass destruction.”
Nineteen hijackers were aboard the four planes and were killed in the attacks.
People run when the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses on 9/11
Smoke rises from the Pentagon after one of its four planes crashed into it on September 11
Firefighters and emergency responders investigate the crash site of United Flight 93 after the plane was hijacked during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and passengers shot it down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Within two months of the attacks, law enforcement agencies had detained more than 1,200 people, at least for questioning.
Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay naval base was turned into a prison to house those arrested during what would become George W. Bush’s “War on Terror”: at its peak, the camp held 780 men, but now it has only 32 left.
Among them is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the attacks, whose trial was due to begin decades ago.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said he was behind the attacks, and on May 2, 2011, on the orders of Barack Obama, a special operations unit raided the Pakistani compound where he lived and killed him.
The attacks led George W. Bush to bomb Afghanistan in October 2001, where the Taliban regime supported al-Qaeda.
The Taliban was overthrown within a month and bin Laden fled.
Bush then moved on to sending US troops into Iraq in March 2003, ostensibly to destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and end Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial rule.
There was little or no sign of a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq, and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.