Madeline Amy Sweeney
Madeline Amy Sweeney known as Amy Sweeney, was an American flight attendant
Flight attendant
Flight attendants or cabin crew are members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft.-History:The role of a flight attendant derives from that of similar...

 on board American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11 was American Airlines' daily scheduled morning transcontinental flight from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California...

 which was hijacked
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

 and flown deliberately into the North Tower of the World Trade Center
World Trade Center
The original World Trade Center was a complex with seven buildings featuring landmark twin towers in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. The complex opened on April 4, 1973, and was destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. The site is currently being rebuilt with five new...

 in New York City, as part of the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

. As a result, she was killed.

Flight 11

On September 11, 2001, Sweeney was asked by American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

 to take an extra shift, because the other crew member who was assigned to the position was ill. Normally, she would only work on weekends.
"I see water. I see buildings. I see buildings! We are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. Oh my God we are flying way too low. Oh my God!" (American 11 crashes)
-- Sweeney's last words on the inflight call with American Airlines manager Michael Woodward.

During the hijacking, she used an airphone to call American Airlines flight operations center. She reached an operator and then Michael Woodward, the manager on duty who was also a friend for the previous decade. She relayed information about the hijackers' seats, and described them as Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

erners. She also reported that two flight attendants, the pilots, and a first class passenger had been stabbed. She reported that the hijackers had jammed their way into the cockpit and that there was mace
Mace (spray)
Chemical Mace is a tear gas in the form of an aerosol spray which propels a lachrymatory agent mixed with a volatile solvent. It is sometimes used as a self-defense device...

 in the first class cabin, and how they struggled to breathe. She also stated that the cockpit was not answering their phone. During the last minutes of the call, she said that the aircraft was flying erratically and that they were descending very rapidly.

Sweeney was 34 years old when she was killed. She had been a flight attendant for twelve years. She was survived by a husband and two children, ages 4 and 6. They lived in Acton
Acton, Massachusetts
Acton is a suburban town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States about twenty-one miles west-northwest of Boston along Route 2 west of Concord and about ten miles southwest of Lowell. The population was 21,924 at the 2010 census...

, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...



On February 11, 2002, Sweeney was commemorated in a series of new annual bravery awards initiated by the Government of Massachusetts
Government of Massachusetts
The form of Massachusetts government is provided by the Constitution of the Commonwealth. The legislative power is exercised by the bicameral General Court, which is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives...

. The annual Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery is awarded every September 11 to at least one Massachusetts resident who displayed extraordinary courage in defending or saving the lives of others.

The first recipients were Sweeney and her colleague Betty Ong
Betty Ong
Betty Ann Ong , born in San Francisco, was an American flight attendant onboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it was hijacked and flown deliberately into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, as part of the September 11 attacks....

, who had also relayed information about the hijacking to personnel on the ground. Pilot John Ogonowski
John Ogonowski
John A. Ogonowski was an American pilot and an agricultural activist. A resident of Dracut, Massachusetts, Ogonowski was a leading advocate on behalf of farming in Massachusetts, particularly in aiding immigrant farmers from Cambodia, whom he assisted as part of the New Entry Sustainable Farming...

 also received a posthumous award for turning a radio switch on, which allowed ground control to listen to remarks being made by the hijackers. They were all residents of Massachusetts. Relatives of all three accepted the awards on their behalf.

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Sweeney is memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-74.


External links

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