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Monday, February 6, 2023


Sept. 13, 2001 – An American Airlines flight that was to have taken off from St. Thomas at 5 p.m. Thursday for New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport didn't do so.
The plane had been grounded at the Cyril E. King Airport since Tuesday, when the federal government halted all civilian air travel in the United States following terrorist attacks on the mainland. The 172-passenger jet had departed from JFK about 45 minutes before the first commercial airliner smashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
The federal government had authorized airports around the country to reopen at 11 a.m. Thursday. After federally mandated security measures were approved at the St. Thomas airport, authorities confirmed what hospitality industry personnel had said earlier: that the American plane would depart at 5 p.m. to return to Kennedy.
However, before the plane could take off, a "ground stop" was issued to the control tower at the airport because all three Metropolitan New York area airports — JFK, La Guardia and Newark — had been closed again.
On Thursday night, it was reported by network media that federal law-enforcement authorities had apprehended five individuals at Kennedy Airport in the late afternoon and five others at La Guardia in the evening who were described as suspected terrorists attempting to board planes. All three New York-area airports remained closed Thursday night.
A source at the Cyril E. King control tower said Thursday evening that he couldn't say whether all three airports were still closed. But he said the American plane would remain on the tarmac at the airport overnight.
There was no answer to telephone calls to the St. Thomas American Airlines office Thursday night.

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