Breaking News on September 11th

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NBC News
Matt Lauer, Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Breaking news reports from the first moments of 9/11 show immediate reactions to the attack on America.



"Breaking News on September 11th." Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw, correspondent. NBC News. NBCUniversal Media. 11 Sep. 2001. NBC Learn. Web. 2 December 2017.


Katie Couric, . (Reporter), & Tom Brokaw, . (Reporter), & Lauer, M. (Anchor). (2001, September 11). Breaking News on September 11th. [Television series episode]. NBC News. Retrieved from


"Breaking News on September 11th" NBC News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 09/11/2001. Accessed Sat Dec 2 2017 from NBC Learn:


Breaking News on September 11th

CHYRON: A breaking story at New York’s World Trade Center. 8:51 A.M.

Matt Lauer (anchor): I’m gonna go live right now and show you a picture of the World Trade Center, where I understand, do we have it? No we do not. We have a breaking story though; we’re going to come back with that in just a moment. First, this is Today on NBC.

CHYRON: Eyewitnesses describe an explosion. Reports say a plane hit the tower. 8:53 A.M.

Katie Couric (anchor): As Matt just mentioned, we have a breaking news story to tell you about. Apparently a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center here in New York City. It happened just a few moments ago apparently. We have very little information available at this point in time. But on the phone we do have Jennifer Oberstein who apparently witnessed this event. Jennifer can you hear me?

Voice of JENNIFER OBERSTEIN (eyewitness): Hello?

COURIC: Hi Jennifer?


COURIC: Hi. Can you please tell me what you saw and give me any information about what’s going on there?

OBERSTEIN: Yes, I have to tell you…um, it’s quite terrifying. I’m in shock right now. I came out of the subway at Bowling Green. I was heading to work in Battery Park at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and I come out…and it, I saw a big, I heard a boom right south and there was a big ball of fire. I’m now looking north at the World Trade Center, and it is the last twin tower, I’m looking north. I’m in Battery Park right now and you can hear the fire engines and the emergency…emergency crews behind me, and it is unbelievable, when the fire first starts it was…hello?

COURIC: Go ahead, we can hear you.

OBERSTEIN: …in the air like I’ve never seen before…um, and, as you know, I used to work in news, I’ve never seen any fire like this in the air. And, pieces of the building were flying down. It looks like, it’s the, it’s like the top, I can’t even tell you, maybe twenty floors. Intense smoke, it’s horrible, I can’t even describe it.

COURIC: Do you have any idea what kind of plane it was?

OBERSTEIN: I’m sorry?

COURIC: Do you have any idea what hit the World Trade Center?

OBERSTEIN: What it was?

COURIC: Yeah, what kind of plane? We’re getting reports that an airplane hit the building.

OBERSTEIN: Oh, it, I didn’t even know that. Honestly, I was walking up, and, looked up, and saw a big boom and fire. You know, I gotta tell you, we were all saying around here that it was very interesting that it would be a bomb and it would be so high up. So, perhaps, perhaps it was a plane. We have no…no type of the plane whatever. I have to tell you, there is still things flying in the air. I mean, it, it’s mind-boggling and it’s horrifying.

CHYRON: A second plane hits the second tower. 9:02 A.M.

COURIC: Have you seen any evidence, Elliot, of people being taken out of the building? You say that emergence vehicles are there, understandably so, but of course the major concern is…

Voice of unidentified woman: Oh my goodness.

COURIC: …human loss. I mean, do you know if there were many people in the building at the time…

Voice of ELLIOT WALKER (eyewitness): Oh another just hit! Something else just hit! A very large plane just flew directly over my building and there’s been another collision. Can you see it?


WALKER: …I can see it in this shot. Something else has just…and that looked like a 747.

LAUER: You know what, we just saw a plane circling the building.

Voice of camera crew: It is the other building.

LAUER: We just saw a plane circling the building, a second ago on the shot right before that.

WALKER: I think there may have been another impact, can you tell? I just heard another very loud bang and a very large plane that might have been a DC-9 or a 747 just flew past my window and I think it may have hit the Trade Center again.

LAUER: To be honest, Elliot, I didn’t get the impression that it was that big a plane.

WALKER: It looked big from here!

LAUER: I did see a big plane go by a second ago though, and it has now impacted the building, I’m trying to see if it’s the different tower.

Voices, COURIC: Yes, it’s the second…

WALKER: I think it may have been…I believe the first one was World Trade Center One and it looks from what I’m seeing on the television like it may have been the second building hit…

LAUER: We’re going to see, this is a piece of tape, and we may actually see another plane enter the picture here in a second.

WALKER: I wonder if there are air traffic control problems.

LAUER: Let’s go back to Jennifer Oberstein who was talking to a second ago. Jennifer did you see this happen?


LAUER: Did you just see this happen Jennifer?

OBERSTEIN: Matt, I, I’ve never seen anything, it looks like a movie, I saw a large plane, like a jet, go immediately heading directly into the World Trade Center. It just flew into it, into the other tower, coming from south to north. I watched the plane fly into the World Trade Center. It was a jet, it was a very large plane. It was going fast, it went past the Ritz Carlton Hotel that’s being built in Battery Park. It flew right past, it almost hit it, and then went in.

CHYRON: A report from inside the Pentagon. 9:39 A.M.

COURIC: Jim Miklaszewski has some new information at the Pentagon. I hope you’ll stand by and continue to talk with us. Mik?

Voice of JIM MIKLASZEWSKI (reporting): Katie, I don’t want to alarm anybody right now, but apparently, it felt, just a few moments ago, like there was an explosion of some kind here at the Pentagon. We’re on the E-ring of the Pentagon. We have a window that faces out toward the Potomac, toward the Kennedy Center. We haven’t been able to see or hear anything after the initial blast. I just stepped out in the hallway, security guards were herding people out of the building. And I saw just a moment ago as I looked outside, a number of construction workers who had been working here, have taken flight. They’re running as far away from the building as they can right now. I hear no sirens going off in the building, I see no smoke. But the building shook for just a couple of seconds. The windows rattled, and security personnel are doing what they can momentarily to clear this part of the building. Again, I have no idea whether it was part of the construction work, whether it was an accident, or what is going on. We’re going to try to find those details and get them to you as soon as possible. But interestingly enough, one intelligence official here in the building said when he saw what appeared to be the coordinated attack on the World Trade Center, his advice was to stay away from the outside of the building today just in case. Now again, nobody has any indications of exactly what happened. But it appears, that there has been some kind of, it felt like a small blast of some kind. Again, the windows shook, the building shook, the windows rattled, and people, if I’m looking out the window now and the construction workers are still keeping a good…oh, I’m sorry. The construction workers are still keeping a distance. That’s all I can see. And I see no other extracurricular security activity right outside. But to get more information, I’m going to have to break away, and walk down the hallway, and see what it is exactly that happened here just a few moments ago.

COURIC: Mik, see what you can find out. Please be careful and let us know what’s going on there.

CHYRON: Report says a plane has crashed into the Pentagon. 9:44 A.M.

COURIC: Mik, we’re hearing it again, unconfirmed reports, that this was the result of a plane crashing in the area as well.

MIKLASZEWSKI: I have no idea, Katie. All I know is that people who were in the building who came running from that part of the building, thought it was a bomb of some kind. According to Chris Brown, my colleague, who just came in, it appears that whatever it was, and perhaps it was a plane, Katie, if those are the initial reports, crashed into, or the damage is on the roof of the building, at the heliport side of the Pentagon which is just opposite of the Potomac River as I just said.

CHYRON: The first World Trade Center tower falls. 9:59 A.M.

LAUER: We just saw live picture of what seemed to be a portion of the building falling away from the World Trade Center. If we can re-rack that to about twenty seconds ago, you’ll see something dramatic happening. And I don’t know whether it’s another explosion or a portion of the building falling away, but something major just happened at that building. Here we go to the tape.

COURIC: We have the tape.

LAUER: Now watch what happens to the left-hand tower. I don’t know if this is the correct tape. There, something there is about to happen, falling away right there.

TOM BROKAW (anchor): Yeah, looks like a big chunk of it has just peeled away.

COURIC: One can only hope that the area has been evacuated, but of course you wonder about all the emergency vehicles and the people who might have been injured early in the morning.

CHYRON: Another hijacking is reported. The second tower collapses. 10:27 A.M.

COURIC: We’re going to go back to Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon. Mik?

MIKLASZEWSKI: I’ve got my eyes peeled here, Katie. I don’t see anything. But security forces in the area have just blared out over their loudspeakers that if there are any pedestrians who are anywhere near the Pentagon to take cover immediately. There was, as I said earlier, an indication that another plane may have been hijacked and headed in this general direction. So far all we see are security helicopters circling the Pentagon. Again, the skies are crystal clear blue and I can’t see the speck of an airplane. But security forces here are obviously alarmed enough, not only to tell people to keep some distance from the building but to take immediate cover.

COURIC: Can you tell me a little bit more, well, actually, let’s look at these live pictures at the World Trade Center. The other tower of the World Trade Center has just collapsed. You are looking at live pictures of the second twin tower at the World Trade Center collapsing as a result of the crash of an airplane into its side. That I believe was the first tower that was struck this morning at 8:42 eastern time. That is now…fallen to the ground and collapsed.

BROKAW: The profile of Manhattan has now been changed, there has been a declaration of war by terrorists on the United States, there’s nothing short of that.

COURIC: Pat Dawson…Pat Dawson, excuse me Tom, is down at the scene. Pat?

Voice of PAT DAWSON (reporting): Where’s Wayne? Where’s Wayne? Where’s Wayne? Wayne!

LAUER: Pat can you hear us? Obviously there is pandemonium downtown. Pat is not far from the World Trade Center as you can hear from the sirens. And you can only imagine the confusion and the terror that is in the area after not one, but both, Trade Center towers have now collapsed.

CHYRON: Reports confirm a plane has crashed in Pennsylvania. 10:40 A.M.

LAUER: We now have an A.P. news alerts out of Pittsburgh. Officials at Somerset County Airport are confirming the crash of a large plane just north of the airport. That’s about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Again, officials at Somerset County Airport confirm the crash of a large plane north of that airport which is located about 80 miles to the southeast of the city of Pittsburgh. We do not know whether that crash of that plane is related to what has become an obvious terrorist attack both here in New York City and in Washington, D.C. at the Pentagon.

CHYRON: The four plane crashes appear to be part of a coordinated terrorist attack. 12:58 P.M.

COURIC: We have the first shots, pretty shaky video, of that airplane that crashed shortly after the two planes crashed into the World Trade tower, at least we got the information, and after that other plane crashed into the Pentagon.

LAUER: In short, and you really can’t put this story into short form, this has been perhaps the most devastating day in American history in terms of terrorism. It certainly has been four separate attacks obviously coordinated, and coordinated fairly thoroughly. Two on the World Trade Center here in New York, one on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., a fourth, the hijacking and crash of a plane as you just saw, outside Pittsburgh. Unclear now as to how many lives have been lost, but the numbers are bound to be staggering as the day progresses.