Flight 93: Mayor of Shanksville Says 'There Was No Plane'
American Free Press | September 19 2004
American Free Press visited Somerset County to look into some of the questions surrounding United Airlines Flight 93, which allegedly turned over and crashed in a refilled strip mine between Lambertsville and Shanksville, Pa., taking 44 lives with it.
Many local residents believe the plane was shot down, which they say would explain why parts of the plane and its contents were found strewn over a large area.
One question, “is what happened to the physical wreckage of the plane?”
“There was no plane,” Ernie Stull, mayor of Shanksville, told German television in March 2003:
“My sister and a good friend of mine were the first ones there,” Stull said. “They were standing on a street corner in Shanksville talking. Their car was nearby, so they were the first here—and the fire department came. Everyone was puzzled, because the call had been that a plane had crashed. But there was no plane.”
“They had been sent here because of a crash, but there was no plane?” the reporter asked.
“No. Nothing. Only this hole.”
When AFP asked Stull about his comments, he disagreed about when he had gone to the crash site. “A day or two later,” Stull said, was about when he went to the site. But he reiterated the fact that they saw little evidence of a plane crash.
Nena Lensbouer, who had prepared lunch for the workers at the scrap yard overlooking the crash site, was the first person to go up to the smoking crater.
Lensbouer told AFP that the hole was five to six feet deep and smaller than the 24-foot trailer in her front yard. She described hearing “an explosion, like an atomic bomb”—not a crash.
Lensbouer called 911 and stayed on the line as she ran across the reclaimed land of the former strip mine to within 15 feet of the smoking crater.
Lensbouer told AFP that she did not see any evidence of a plane then or at any time during the excavation at the site, an effort that reportedly recovered 95 percent of the plane and 10 percent of the human remains.
While specific details vary, the explanation for the disappearance of the plane is that the reclaimed land acted like liquid and absorbed the aircraft, which is said to have impacted at between 450 and 600 miles per hour.
This explanation is also used to explain why there was only a brief explosion with one short-lived smoke cloud, not unlike a bomb blast.
“I never saw that smoke,” Paula Long, an eyewitness, told AFP. Long ran “immediately” after hearing the crash but did not see the cloud of smoke caught in the now-famous photograph by Valencia McClatchey, she said.
“It [the ground] liquefied,” Bob Leverknight, an active member of the Air National Guard and correspondent with Somerset's Daily American, told AFP regarding how the wreck and much of the fuel disappeared. One of the massive engines, Leverknight said, however, bounced off the ground and was found in the woods.
Jim Svonavec, whose company worked at the site and provided excavation equipment, told AFP that the recovery of the engine “at least 1,800 feet into the woods,” was done solely by FBI agents using his equipment.