Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yukoner tackles 9/11 Korean Air 'hijackings' mystery

When Max Fraser started collecting footage and stories about how Sept. 11, 2001, played out in the Yukon capital of Whitehorse, he set out to make a point-of-view documentary about the terrifying spectre of 2 supposedly hijacked jumbo jets landing in — or on — Whitehorse.

It's hard to forget the images of an American Airlines jet slamming into the World Trade Center in New York City, followed by a United Airlines jet hitting the second tower minutes later. The images were beamed to television sets around the world.

What Fraser ended up with is the mysterious tale of how Korean Air Flight 085, bound for New York City, came to land at the then-Whitehorse International Airport at 11:54 a.m. that day, instead of descending at one of the many better-equipped Alaskan runways it passed on its way.

And even more mysterious is why 2 Korean planes were transmitting a hijack "squawk" (a satellite code that can be discreetly set by a pilot to alert authorities on the ground of a hostile takeover), even though all was well on board the flights.

In response, American and Canadian fighter jets were deployed to accompany those planes to the Whitehorse airport.


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