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CNHI Special Projects

September 6, 2011

Flight 93 video emerges 10 years later

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — A video shot moments after the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 into an open field near here on 9/11 has surfaced on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

The video does not capture the plane’s impact. But it clearly shows a mushroom cloud rising from the smoky site of the crash that killed 33 passengers, 7 crew members and the 4 terrorist hijackers.

It was taken by Dave Berkebile, who lived 8 miles from the crash scene. The hijackers intended to plunge the plane into the U.S. Capitol building but were overpowered by the passengers and crew.

Berkebile, 80, passed away last February. Five years ago, he gave the 1 minute, 38-second video to Val McClatchey, the woman who shot the only still photograph of Flight 93’s haunting, skyward aftermath.

McClatchey recently donated the video to the National Park Service for an oral history of 9/11. She had endured years of harassment from conspiracy theorists who believe Flight 93 was shot down by U.S. military jets and that her photo was a fake.

Donna Glessner of the National Park Service said the video authenticates the McClatchey photo and also has historic significance because of its timing and content.

“No one else has a video of that smoke cloud,” said Glessner. “As far as I know it has not been shown or broadcast anywhere.”

The video includes the voice of Berkebile. He is heard saying, “This is the remains of an airplane crash over on Lambertsville Road. Probably a terrorist bomb on board that blew it up.”

Berkebile reports the crash “shook the heck out of the house ... A great big, black cloud just mushroomed right up into the air. I wonder if there is anything left of

Lambertsville.”

The video will be available at the crash scene’s Flight 93 National Memorial, which is being dedicated Saturday as part of the 10th anniversary remembrance of 9/11.

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