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Mark Wahlberg is sorry for saying he could've stopped 9/11 hijackers


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Actor Mark Wahlberg apologized Wednesday for saying he could have stopped one of the 9/11 hijackings if he were on the flight.

His mea culpa came after one of the widows, Deena Burnett-Bailey - whose husband, Thomas Burnett, called her from Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, to say the passengers were going to retake the plane - told the comments were "disrespectful."

"Does Mark Wahlberg have a pilot's license? Then I think hindsight is 20/20 and it's insignificant to say what you would have done if you weren't there," she said.

"The plan for Flight 93 was foiled by heroes," she continued. "For him to speculate that his presence on board could have stopped everything is silly and disrespectful. Sounds like someone is grandstanding."

The rapper turned movie star was scheduled to be on the Los Angeles-bound American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston on Sept. 11, 2001, but after a last-minute schedule change, he instead flew to Toronto on a private plane.

In an interview with Men's Journal to be published next month, Wahlberg speculates on how he could have prevented his plane from flying into the World Trade Center.

"If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn't have went down like it did," Wahlberg, 40, said in excerpts of the interview released online Wednesday. "There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, 'OK, we're going to land somewhere safely, don't worry."

Wahlberg has said in the past that his serendipitous scheduling change haunts him, and that he's had more than 50 dreams about it.

Hours after Burnett-Bailey's remarks - as well as negative comments on the blogsphere - Wahlberg apologized, saying his comments were "irresponsible."

"To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with. ... I deeply apologize to the families of the victims that my answer came off as insensitive. It was certainly not my intention," he said.

However, not everyone who lost a loved one in the 9/11 attack was offended.

Michael Burke, 55, of Riverdale, whose brother, a firefighter, died on 9/11, told amNewYork that he thought Wahlberg was just "wistfully boasting" and that he probably didn't mean to offend with his remarks.

"To tell you the truth, I let [comments like his] roll off my back. People get quoted, people say dumb things, and if somebody happened to write it down, they're going to look like this," he said.

Burke added: "I don't think he intended to upset anyone."

Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera


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