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Conspiracy theorists insist there was no plane wreckage at the Pentagon. "In reality, a Boeing 757 was never found," claims pentagonstrike.co.uk, which asks the question, "What hit the Pentagon on 9/11?"
Aftermath: Wreckage from Flight 77 on the Pentagon's lawn — proof that a passenger plane, not a missile, hit the building. (Photograph by AP/Wide World Photos)
FACT: Blast expert Allyn E. Kilsheimer was the first structural engineer to arrive at the Pentagon after the crash and helped coordinate the emergency response. "It was absolutely a plane, and I'll tell you why," says Kilsheimer, CEO of KCE Structural Engineers PC, Washington, D.C. "I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I found the black box." Kilsheimer's eyewitness account is backed up by photos of plane wreckage inside and outside the building. Kilsheimer adds: "I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts. Okay?"
Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said the data on the cockpit voice data recorder was unrecoverable.
Nearly 100,000 flight recorders have been installed in commercial aircraft over the past four decades. The prices of the latest models generally range from $10,000 to $20,000. Their survival rate has greatly improved in recent years as the FAA has raised the certification requirements. Although older recorders using magnetic tape were susceptible to fire damage, no solid-state device has been destroyed in an accident to date.