The pilot of a United Airlines flight set to depart the morning of September 11, 2001 is persuaded that his aircraft was intended to be part of a coordinated terrorist strike.
“There is a strong possibility that someone was intending to use our jet as a weapon of mass devastation,” pilot Tom Mannello says in the Fox documentary “TMZ Investigates: 9/11: The Fifth Plane,” which premieres on Monday at 9 p.m. ET.
TMZ reported spending six months studying “suspicious and disturbing actions” aboard Flight 23, a Boeing 767 scheduled to depart JFK Airport for Los Angeles at 9 a.m.
Among the allegations, Mannello stated that two box cutters were discovered in the first-class seat pockets of the jet parked next to Flight 23, whose tail registration was wrong by one digit.
“If someone on the ground was collaborating with them, they simply put the box cutters on the incorrect airplane,” Mannello said, adding that it “wouldn’t have been difficult” to plant them at the time.
In the hourlong special, flight attendants aboard the plane that day share their suspicions about four people in first class — two men, a child and a person who was dressed in a hijab, with the crew believing it was a man pretending to be a woman — and a man profusely sweating in business class.
“That seemed strange since it was 8 a.m. and aircraft are frigid anyway, but it was a cool morning,” flight attendant Sandy Thorngren said of the man’s alleged sweat.
The flight crew reported having difficulty obtaining fruit plates for its vegetarian first-class guests, which sparked an altercation between the passengers and the first-class attendant, described in the video as “Deborah.”
“I heard them declare, ‘We do not wish to eat and we do not require food. We wish to depart. We do not require food. We simply want to go,'” Thorngren asserted regarding the passengers in first class.