Fitzpatrick Introduces Bill To Combat Plane Hijackers

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick speaks on H.R. 911. Photo by Rick Rickman.

With planes soaring far over head, Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Congressman Josh Gottheimer [NJ-D] held a press conference at the Garden of Reflection 9/11 Memorial in Newtown Wednesday morning to reintroduce a bill to make cockpits of commercial airliners less available to potential hijackers and terrorists.

The Saracini Aviation Safety Act, also known as H.R. 911, is named after Captain Victor Saracini who piloted United Flight 175. At 9:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, United Flight 175 was hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists and flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Almost 17 years following the tragic day when 18 residents of Bucks County lost their lives with 3,000 others, a safety protocol recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration in the 9/11 report has still not been implemented.

“Today, seventeen years after the attacks of September 11 the FAA still admits the cockpit is vulnerable when the reinforced doors open,” Fitzpatrick said. “It only takes a split-second for a trained hijacker to rush a cockpit and take control of a plane.”

Ellen Saracini speaks on H.R. 911. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Captain Victor’s widow Ellen Saracini has fought for years to ensure a similar tragedy never happens again.

“It’s been three Congresses at this point, which is way too long to have common sense legislation move forward,” Saracini said. “What we have right now, thank goodness, are some representatives. Josh Gottheimer and Brian Fitzpatrick stand here with me.”

Peers representing both sides of the political aisle attended to show their support including State Representative Perry Warren and Yardley Mayor Chris Harding.

The Yardley-Makefield Fire Company prepares to hoist a larger American Flag for the event. Photo by Rick Rickman.

Three firefighters from the Yardley-Makefield Fire Company attended the event and used a fire engine to drape a large American flag in the background of the press conference.

Commercial Pilots and Flight Attendants also attended the event to show their support for the legislation.