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Jet Crashes in Pennsylvania

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Associated Press
Tuesday, September 11, 2001; 1:22 p.m.

PITTSBURGH A United Airlines plane crashed Tuesday morning just north of the Somerset County Airport, the airline said.

The Boeing 757 was en route from Newark, N.J. to San Francisco.

It was unclear if the crash was related to the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington.

Sean Cavanaugh, a commissioner in neighboring Fayette County, said his emergency management director, Barney Shipley, advised him that the plane originated in either Cleveland or New York and was bound for Chicago, WPXI reported.

The Somerset County airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, in a small, rural facility that does not handle such aircraft.

Because of the attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered all departing flights canceled nationwide, and any planes already in the air were to land a the nearest airport. The plane crashed shortly after the order was issued.

It was not immediately known if the 757 might have been trying to land at the Somerset County airport when the crash occurred.

The crash came the same morning that terrorists crashed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York City and the twin 110-story towers collapsed. Explosions also rocked the Pentagon and the State Department and spread fear across the nation.

There were no other immediate details on the Pennsylvania crash.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company