Plane Crash Into World Trade Center Was Debated Months Ago
Published on 9/13/2001
CARBONDALE – Almost a year ago, a sophomore at Southern Illinois University (SIU) majoring in aviation management and flight responded on a message board to a post questioning, "Anyone wanna bet that the World Trade Center could survive an 767-300 impact?"
The discussion originator, a student who on the site goes by the user name "MD-90," also claimed in that same post: "When the two towers that make up the World Trade Center were built, they were designed to withstand the impact of the largest airliner of the day: the Boeing 707 Intercontinental."
The SIU student, who asked ePrairie to remain unnamed, knew otherwise, and in light of Tuesday's events, was correct: "My bet is NO WAY!!!," the student countered. "Just imagine a fully loaded airliner the size of the 707 (for modern comparison reasons, let's say a 757) slamming into any building. THINK ABOUT IT
This type of discussion is currently being taken very seriously by our FBI, which is spearheading the investigation into Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "We treat [online information] just like anyone who calls with information," said FBI spokeswoman Mary Lynn Muha in Chicago. "We look at every single thing that occurs."
Airliners.net, the site hosting the posts, was created by site editor and operator Johan Lundgren of the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. The posts do not come to him by surprise.
"I honestly believe [MD-90] is just a kid who's asking a question. That he mentioned the WTC and Boeing 767 is, in my mind, coincidental," Lundgren said. "We have close to 500,000 posts in the civil aviation forum alone. It seems reasonable that a discussion about an aircraft hitting a high building should come up at some time. I do not know the guy however, and therefore cannot be sure."
Following the SIU student's rebuttal of MD
-90's initial thought, a debate ensued by several other users from around the world – some aviation-savvy and some not, some anonymous and some quite revealing – but all seem prophetic given that the discussion took place nearly a year ago.
That day, on Nov. 30, 2000, the SIU student, who on the site goes by the user name "KonaB777," was doing exactly what millions of others do every day – posting messages similar to the thousands of other discussions that take place on Yahoo! message boards.
From this point forward, the SIU student hopes the country can begin the healing process: "Personally, I'd like to see three towers built in their place, with the middle one much taller than the other two. That way, it would look like a giant middle finger, directed straight at the [expletive deleted] who did this."
By ADAM FENDELMAN
Personal Technology Reporter
AOL/AIM screename: PureAdam11
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way