Determined Father Pursues Sept. 11 Lawsuit

Determined Father Pursues Sept. 11 Lawsuit

CBS -- Jeff Glor and Phil Hirschkorn

Mike Low wishes his trial was already over. Alone among nearly 3,000 families that lost loved ones in the September 11th terrorist attacks, Low, from Batesville, Arkansas, has a trial date set for his wrongful death lawsuit against airlines and airport security companies.

"I want people to know 9/11 could have been prevented. These Saudi thugs could have been stopped," Low told CBS News. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers that day were from Saudi Arabia.

Low's 28-year-old daughter, Sara, was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to strike the World Trade Center.

"This is an excruciating thing as a parent to continue this, but I don't have a choice," Low said. "I could just not quit until I know I've gone as far as I can go, because I would have her image hanging over me the rest of my life saying, 'You quit, you quit.'"

Low will be in Lower Manhattan next week for ceremonies to mark the eighth anniversary of the day when a pair of American Airlines planes and two belonging to United Airlines were commandeered by al Qaeda hijackers and crashed into the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon, outside Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania.

At first, American Airlines told Low and his wife, Bobbie, and their other daughter, Alyson, that Sara wasn't on Flight 11, but the employee had been reading the passenger list. Later, they found out the awful truth.

"The intensity of our loss has not changed. The pain, the emotion, and the loss is still there," Low said.

By the end of 2003, 98 percent of the Sept. 11 families renounced any legal claims against the airlines and airport security companies in return for payments from a government fund that totaled $7 billion. Though 96 families pursued lawsuits, all but three have settled, collecting a total of $500 million.

"If it was about money, I would have been gone a long time ago. It's about ferreting out all the untold stories of the days leading up to 9/11 and 9/11. It's accountability, it's exposure, it's shining a light on some of those areas that have been successfully hidden from the public," Low said.

Specifically, Low and other plaintiffs have pointed to breakdowns in passenger screening areas where the hijackers armed with box cutters, knives, and pepper spray passed by. The defendants include not only the airlines, but also Massport, which runs Boston's Logan Airport, where Flight 11 and the second trade center flight, United 175, originated; Globe Aviation Services, then the primary security contractor for American; and Boeing, the manufacturer of the hijacked 767 jets that lacked impenetrable cockpit doors.

The lawsuit has generated 1 million pages of documents that Low would like to eventually see deposited in a public archive after his trial, scheduled for next April in Manhattan federal court. >>>


Do these people deserve to know how and why their loved ones were murdered? Do we deserve to know how and why 9/11 happened?