Newly posted audio files depict the horror of 9/11 unfolding in the sky, as air traffic controllers struggled to follow the faint tracks of hijacked planes, fighter jets tried in vain to chase them down and a flight attendant made a desperate appeal for help.
The sound files add a layer of emotion to previously published transcripts, as puzzlement and frustration seeps into the voices of controllers, military commanders, and even pilots watching the attacks from the sky. There are shouting and ringing phones in the background -- the soundtrack, usually omitted from written transcripts, of a nation suddenly at war.
In one chilling excerpt, screaming and a shouted "Hey!" is heard over the radio as hijackers storm the cockpit of United Flight 93. That's followed by a strange, strained cry. Stunned controllers and other pilots discuss the sounds, trying to make sense of what they heard.
"No dry words on a page can capture that; you really have to hear it," said John Farmer, dean of the Rutgers University School of Law and former senior counsel to the government's 9/11 Commission.
The sound files were posted online Wednesday, just days before the 10th anniversary of the attacks, to accompany a monograph published by the Rutgers University Law Review. The release was first reported by The New York Times.
The monograph was written by Farmer and other investigators working for the 9/11 Commission but was not completed by the time the commission released its final report in 2004.
Farmer and another investigator, Miles Kara, decided to finish the document and add the audio after their draft and the original Federal Aviation Administration recordings were declassified last year.
Most of recordings come from the FAA and are of controllers and the military liaisons working with them.
But some come from other sources, including a phone call that Betty Ong, a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, placed to the airline.
Much of the audio released Wednesday has been previously documented in hearings, lawsuits and various government reports.