Signs and Wonders

In her WTC Task Force interview of October 11, 2001, EMT Patricia Ondrovic details her harrowing experience in lower Manhattan on 9/11. Her narrative includes on pg. 7 this curious passage:

“As I was running north in this park, and then I could start seeing again a little bit, and I just kept looking in the sky. Cause the captain was saying there's another plane heading in our direction, I was looking for another plane. I saw something in the sky, it was a plane, but it was way out. It looked like it was over Jersey or something, then it wasn't there anymore. I saw a small fireball, and it was gone. I saw two other planes. One came in one way, and the other came in the other way, and there was a plane in the middle that was way far off in the distance. Then the plane in the middle just disappeared into a little fire ball. It looked like the size of a golf ball from where I could see it. And the other two planes veered off into opposite directions. I just kept on running north. About fifteen blocks later, I had no idea that that was just the first tower that had come down.”

The South Tower came down at 9:59 a.m.

From Thompson's Timeline:

(9:03 a.m.-9:08 a.m.): Flight Control Managers Ban Aircraft Around New York and Washington In a series of stages, flight control managers ban aircraft from flying near the cities targeted by the hijackers. All takeoffs and landings in New York City are halted within a minute of the Flight 175 crash, without asking for permission from Washington. Boston and Newark flight control centers follow suit in the next few minutes. Around 9:08 a.m., departures nationwide heading to or through New York and Boston airspace are canceled. [Associated Press, 8/12/2002; USA Today, 8/13/2002; Associated Press, 8/19/2002; Newsday, 9/10/2002] Mike McCormick, head of a Long Island, New York, air traffic control center, makes the decision without consulting any superiors. [ABC News, 8/12/2002] In addition, “a few minutes” after 9:03 a.m., all takeoffs from Washington Reagan National Airport are stopped. [USA Today, 8/11/2002]
Entity Tags: Mike McCormick
Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline
Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events

According to the 9/11 Commission, F-15s were finally over New York by 9:25 a.m. Ondrovic's description of "two planes" that "veered off into opposite directions" suggests the agility of jet fighters. But what about the "plane in the middle" that "disappeared into a little fireball"?

Ondrovic's testimony is unique among the Oral Histories. Did she alone witness this wonder? Are there others?

" everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on."
--W.H. Auden