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Eyewitnesses Describe Pentagon Attack

The crash of a passenger jet into the Pentagon was witnessed by many people in a nearby U.S. military building.

Workers in the Naval Annex building, which is just a short distance from the Pentagon, were first surprised by the roar of the jet's engines as it cruised at a very low altitude on its approach to the Pentagon. One man says the aircraft was flying so low that it clipped light poles on a nearby highway.

After roaring past the Naval Annex, the aircraft slammed into the south side of the Pentagon, erupting into a massive fireball and sending giant plumes of smoke into the sky. One eyewitness says the plane's impact caused a massive hole in the Pentagon very close to the building's heliport control tower.

Several eyewitnesses say the plane hit a portion of the Pentagon that was recently renovated. None of the eyewitnesses could tell VOA how many people might have been in that section of the building Tuesday.

In the aftermath of the attack, the scene could best be described as controlled chaos, with police, fire trucks and ambulances streaming towards the Pentagon, while thousands of civilians and non-essential military personnel were being forced to walk the other way.

Authorities have set up a tight security cordon on the roads approaching the south side of the Pentagon and at least one F-16 fighter jet was seen circling the skies around the area for nearly an hour.