No Survivors in Pentagon Rubble
Military officials said Wednesday that no survivors were expected to be found in the rubble at the Pentagon in the aftermath of a hijacked passenger plane's slicing into the defense complex on Tuesday. American Airlines Flight 77, carrying 58 passengers and six crew members, was on a scheduled flight from Dulles International Airport west of Washington to Los Angeles when it was diverted and slammed into the five-sided, five-story concrete-walled structure at about 9:30 a.m., when Pentagon workers are well into their workday. The crash triggered a thunderous explosion and fierce fires that killed and injured an unknown number of people. Authorities said Wednesday that 80 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage, but that it was likely the death toll would rise. The surprise terrorist assault, the first in the history of the 58-year-old building, came within an hour of the airborne siege on the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center and set off a state of emergency in the nation's capital that swiftly shut down the government. All federal office buildings were closed, and F-16 fighter jets and helicopters were dispatched to police the skies. Most alarming of all, pointed out The New York Times, the sneak attack on the nation's military headquarters revealed the inability of the most sophisticated early warning systems in the world to stop a low-tech, tried-and-true form of terrorism: hijacking.
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