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8:59 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 175 Passenger Leaves Message for Wife on Answering Machine

Brian Sweeney.
Brian Sweeney. [Source: Family photo]Brian Sweeney, a 38-year-old business consultant on Flight 175, attempts to call his wife, Julie Sweeney, at their home in Barnstable, Massachusetts, but she is not there, so he leaves a message on the answering machine telling her his plane has been hijacked. (Myers 9/12/2001; Maraniss 9/16/2001; 9/11 Commission 8/26/2004, pp. 22)
Sweeney Calmly Reports Hijacking - In the 27-second message, Sweeney says: “Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you. I want you to feel good, go have some good times. Same to my parents and everybody. And I just totally love you and I’ll see you when you get here. Bye, Babe. Hope I call you.” (9/11 Commission 5/13/2004 pdf file; American RadioWorks 9/2006; 9/11 Memorial 2/2011) Sweeney’s voice sounds calm and he is not crying, his wife will later describe. (Myers 9/12/2001) He does not provide any specific information about the plane’s hijackers. (Federal Bureau of Investigation 9/11/2001) Immediately after attempting to call his wife, Sweeney will call his mother (see 9:00 a.m. September 11, 2001). (9/11 Commission 7/24/2004, pp. 8) Julie Sweeney, a teacher, will leave the school where she works after she learns of the terrorist attacks and her mother-in-law, Louise Sweeney, calls her to say she has just talked over the phone with Brian, who called her from his plane. After arriving home, she will discover the message her husband has left on the answering machine.
Differing Accounts of What Type of Phone Sweeney Uses - When interviewed by the FBI later in the day, Julie Sweeney will say her husband called her on his cell phone. The following day, she will tell the Cape Cod Times that she is “not sure if her husband was on his cell phone when he called.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation 9/11/2001; Myers 9/12/2001) But according to evidence prepared for the 2006 trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, Sweeney’s call is made using an Airfone, not a cell phone. Although Sweeney was originally assigned to seat 15A of the plane, he makes the call from row 31AB. (9/11 Commission 5/13/2004 pdf file; 9/11 Commission 8/26/2004, pp. 90; US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division 7/31/2006)

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