Israeli Daniel Lewin - murdered while battling hijackers on Flight 11 on
Excerpt from "Year to the Twin Towers Disaster" Yediot Ahronot, Seven Days
Magazine Section 6 September 2002 translated by IMRA [with apologies for
previous error - the Hebrew text affords no ability to differentiate between
"Levin" and "Lewin" and a check of Google found entries in newspapers and
other sources with the incorrect "Levin" spelling].
"Danny Lewin was the first victim of the biggest attack in history that
morning, in which almost 3,000 people died. An internal memorandum of the
Federal Aviation Administration sets that in the course of a struggle that
took place between Lewin, a graduate of Israel's elite commando unit,
Sayeret Matkal , and the four hijackers who were assaulting that cockpit,
Lewin was murdered by Satam Al Suqami, a 25 year old Saudi.
Some time after the attack the Lewin family in Jerusalem received a
telephone call from the FBI offices in New York. On the line was the agent
responsible for the investigation of the attack on Flight 11. He told Peggy
and Charles Lewin that there is a high degree of certainty that their son
Danny tried to prevent the hijacking. The FBI relied, among other things,
on the testimony of the stewardess Amy Sweeney.
Sweeney called Michael Woodward, the flight services supervisor in Boston,
from the rear of the plane: "a hijacker slit the throat of a passenger in
business class and the passenger appears to me to be dead." To this day the
American investigators are not convinced that Danny Lewin was murdered on
the spot. An additional stewardess, Betty Ong, who succeeded in calling
from a telephone by one of the passenger seats, said that the passenger who
was attacked from business class seat 10B was seriously wounded.
The Lewin family, Danny' parents and brothers, have no doubt that Danny
battled the hijackers. And it is for them a tremendous consolation. "I
wasn't surprised to hear from the FBI that Danny fought. I was sure that
this is what he would do," Yonatan, his younger brother, said. "Danny
didn't sit quietly. From what we heard from the Americans, the hijackers
attacked one of the stewardesses and Danny rose to protect her and prevent
them from entering the cockpit. It is a consolation to us that Danny
fought. We see it as an act of heroism that a person sacrifices his life in
order to save others. An act of heroism that everyone should do at such an
instance and particularly suitable for Danny."
That battle in the business section ended quickly. Lewin was overcome and
bled to death on the floor. Two additional flight attendants were knifed
and the captain was murdered. The hijackers were already inside the
cockpit. They announced to the passengers to remain quiet in their seats.