Fact Check: This Video Of Exploding Twin Towers Without Planes Is NOT Real -- Plane Crashes Are Edited Out

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: This Video Of Exploding Twin Towers Without Planes Is NOT Real -- Plane Crashes Are Edited Out Edited Video

Does a video of the South Tower at the World Trade Center in New York City exploding without a plane crashing into it during the 9/11 attacks mean that bombs were the reason the buildings exploded? No, that's not true: The video has been edited to remove the hijacked United Flight 175 plane hitting the South Tower on September 11, 2001, as historical footage shows. The 9/11 Commission Report described the hijacking of flight United 175 with eyewitness accounts, including phone calls made from the plane.

The claim was a video published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on September 11, 2023, (archived here) that opened:

This clip surfaced years later.... No planes just bombs. Wake up please.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

image - 2023-09-12T104552.268.png

Twitter screenshot

(Source: X screenshot taken on Tue Sep 12 19:17:22 2023 UTC)

This video is edited to remove United Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower from the footage. Millions of people around the world watched on live television as the plane flew into the tower and it was covered extensively by multiple independent teams of national and international journalists.

The 34-second video posted on X begins with the North Tower smoking and then an explosion in the South Tower at seven seconds. The doctored footage matches the original footage that is available on YouTube titled, "Keith Lopez' WTC 9/11 Video (Enhanced Video/Audio & Doubled FPS)." It was taken by Lopez, a videographer with WPIX-TV (WB Channel 11, NY) on September 11, 2001, according to the caption on the footage. The plane is clearly visible in the original video. The caption states:

1:55 - 2nd plane approaches and hits WTC 2 (South Tower) at 9:02:59am (NIST final timeline 'Adjusted Time from Television Broadcasts').

Pages 4-7 of the 9/11 Commission Report detail how American Flight 11 was hijacked and flown into the North Tower:

At 8:46:40, American 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in NewYork City. All on board, along with an unknown number of people in the tower, were killed instantly.

The report tells how hijackers entered Logan International Airport in Boston and boarded United Airlines Flight 175, with pages 7-8 of the report giving a minute-by-minute account of passengers and flight attendants contacting people from phones on the plane. It then describes how all communications ceased at the time that the plane flew into the second tower. From page 8:

At 8:58, the flight took a heading toward New York City.

At 8:59, Flight 175 passenger Brian David Sweeney tried to call his wife, Julie. He left a message on their home answering machine that the plane had been hijacked. He then called his mother, Louise Sweeney, told her the flight had been hijacked, and added that the passengers were thinking about storming the cockpit to take control of the plane away from the hijackers.

At 9:00, Lee Hanson received a second call from his son Peter:

It's getting bad, Dad--A stewardess was stabbed--They seem to have knives and Mace--They said they have a bomb--It's getting very bad on the plane--Passengers are throwing up and getting sick--The plane is making jerky movements--I don't think the pilot is flying the plane--I think we are going down--I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building--Don't worry, Dad-- If it happens, it'll be very fast--My God, my God.

The call ended abruptly. Lee Hanson had heard a woman scream just before it cut off. He turned on a television, and in her home so did Louise Sweeney. Both then saw the second aircraft hit the World Trade Center.

The victims from United Airlines Flight 175 are listed at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

Conspiracy theories have long surrounded 9/11 and the World Trade Center, including the South Tower and United Flight 175. Here is a selection of our fact checks related to that day:

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to the World Trade Center can be found here.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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