“9-1-1: Lone Star” actor Rob Lowe unknowingly flew with the al-Qaeda terrorists that hijacked and crashed a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11 during their dry run.
While working on NBC’s White House drama “West Wing,” which filmed in Washington D.C. from 1999 to 2006, Lowe was routinely a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 when he headed home to Los Angeles on the weekends.
“I flew with the 9/11 hijackers on the dry run, without realizing. I was shooting ‘The West Wing’ in D.C. at the time and I always took the flight that leaves Dulles to Los Angeles that they eventually put into the Pentagon,” he told the panelists on “The View” in a 2011 interview.
“It was 11 days before 9/11, I made the flight a lot and I didn’t think anything of it. I got on the flight and it was packed, small plane,” he continued. “Looked around the cabin, don’t remember anything in particular, nobody looked scary, nobody looked like a terrorist. It looked like an absolutely normal flight.”
The former “Brothers & Sisters” star wasn’t aware that the flight was he was on the hijackers test run until he received a letter from the attorney general’s office, which indicated that he might be called to testify in the trial of French al-Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui, who eventually pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder American citizens in the September 11 attacks.
“Even just telling the story, it almost feels like it didn’t happen to me. I’m just grateful that I wasn’t one of the so many Americans who had suffered,” he recalled.
Lowe was in New York City the day that the news of Osama bin Laden’s death broke. “I went to Ground Zero,” he said.
“I went to Times Square. And as I was walking through the crowd and just being with people and sort of being a part of that moment, the firefighters hugged me and asked me to get up on top of the rig with them,” Lowe explained. “It was really emotional and just great to be part of this amazing moment.”
Lowe wasn’t the only celebrity that had a near miss with the 9/11 terrorists, actor Mark Wahlberg was scheduled to take American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston’s Logan Airport, but was invited to the Toronto Film Festival at the last minute, and chartered a private plane to Canada instead.
The “Ted” star made waves when he claimed that if he was on board the flight that hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, “there would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin” and he could have prevented the hijacking.
Wahlberg apologized in a statement after a widow of one of the 9/11 victims said the commentary was “disrespectful.”
“To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with, and to suggest I would have done anything differently than the passengers on that plane was irresponsible. I deeply apologize to the families of the victims that my answer came off as insensitive, it was certainly not my intention,” he said in a statement.