Former air traffic controller remembers 9/11

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Mahlon Fuller was close to retirement, working at the control tower of the Great Pittsburgh International airport on Sept. 11, 2011.

The day began like any other day, until just a few hours into his shift, a controller came into the radar room to say the World Trade Center had been hit.

Fuller was in denial, he couldn’t believe what had just happened.

“A controller at one of our arrival scopes yelled now I need you here and I ran to his scope and he pointed to a target that was 30 miles from the airport and said this airplane has been hijacked over Cleveland they don’t know where it’s going they think he has a bomb on board and that was the first time I knew about the plane that was United 93,” said Mahlon Fuller, former air traffic controller. 

Fuller said Flight 93 was traveling at high speeds directly toward the airport. He made the decision for the control center to evacuate.

“I went back into the radar room by myself to see if there was still a threat to the airport and United 93 was off the scope,” said Fuller. 

Since then, Fuller has traveled to many places to share his story. The flight he once saw on the radar screen has eventually came to life.

Over the years, he’s learned about the lives of the passengers and shares their heroic efforts to take down the hijackers. 

“Those 40 ordinary people who sat down as strangers, stood up as one,” said Fuller. 

It’s been 18 years since that day and while Fuller will never forget, he wants the next generation to remember for those that may not be able to.

“Know about 9/11, teach your kids about 9/11 and get to the Flight 93 National Memorial,” said Fuller. 

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