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9/11 audio recordings released

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

9/11 audio recordings released

Air traffic controllers, pilots first reactions to attacks heard

  • telegraphtv screengrab

Audio recordings of the first reactions by American air traffic controllers, pilots and the military to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were made public for the first time Thursday, days ahead of the 10-year anniversary.

The 114 audio recordings from the moments before, during and immediately after the 9/11 attacks reveal air controllers trying to understand what happened to the planes and what would come next, AFP reports.

The recordings, published by Rutgers Law Review, provide a step-by-step recreation of the moment when four airliners were hijacked and slammed into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

In one exchange, a pilot asks: "Anybody know what that smoke is in lower Manhattan?"

In another exchange, a worker at Boston Center control says: "We have, ah, a problem here, we have a hijacked aircraft headed towards New, New York and we need you guys to, we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there to help us out."

The answer: "Is, is this real world or exercise?"

The recordings show the level of shock among the air controllers.

They also show just how unprepared the United States was for the terrorist attack, AFP states.

Parts of the recordings, which span two hours, have been aired before, but others had not before been heard by the public, the Telegraph reports. A 9/11 Commission investigator found the files that had not yet been aired in the National Archives and worked with Rutgers University to translate them.

"The story of the day of 9/11 itself is best told in the voices of 9/11," the investigator, Miles Kara, told The New York Times.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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