On September 11th, 2001, an American flight had an emergency landing in Gander, Newfoundland to divert its course from encountering any danger during a terrorist attack in New York City. The Gander airport accepted about 38 flights after the U.S. closed their airspace. Americans were stranded in Gander for almost a week, however, the welcoming aid of the Newfoundlanders, eased the anxiety, panic, and fear felt by the Americans.


  • Gander Airport on 9/11
    Gander Airport on 9/11

On September 11th, 2001, more than 6,500 passengers on about 38 flights landed at Gander International Airport and were forced to stay in the small town of Gander for up to a week after the terrorist attack in Manhattan, New York. With the thought in mind that the flights received could possibly still have terrorists on board, the people of Gander gave up their homes, food, water, and clothing to take care of the passengers during their stay. This was about a 63 percent increase in the population of Gander, which proves the large impact this would have on the town. The acts of kindness from the people of Gander, caught the attention of the world as they admired the empathy and compassion exhibited by the Ganderites.

Once the planes landed it took about 24 hours to unload the passengers, their luggages, and to put each person under intense questioning through customs. After taking these precautionary measures, each passenger was treated as a welcomed guest. An air traffic controller that worked at Gander Airport that day claims, "if you didn't provide a service, then the airport would have fallen apart,". This is evidence to show the helpful attitude that many Ganderites had during this time. They were able to turn a tragic situation into an enjoyable experience where the passengers were able to become familiar with the culture of Newfoundland.

This was an important part in history because it showed the power of domestic and international affairs during times of need. It is a relief for the U.S. to know that they have allies who will support them when they are in need of help, especially during a world crisis. 

“Gander's Ripple Effect: How a Small Town's Kindness Opened on Broadway.” CBC NL - Newfoundland and Labrador , 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTNDRvUqVQA.

This source is an online documentary based on Gander, Newfoundland’s 9/11 emergency landing story. The documentary expresses the respect that many people have for Gander since it was a small town that provided so much for the American passengers who were in distress. This source is valuable because it is a visual aid filled with interviews and factual information that convey the story to its audience. 

Paulson, Michael. "A 9/11 Parable, Staged for Samaritans: [the Arts/Cultural Desk]." New York Times, Nov 01, 2016. ProQuest, https://search.proquest.com/docview/1834340069?accountid=10003. 

This is an online news source from the UCF library database that gives an account of what happened during the 9/11 emergency landing. Not only does it incorporate the series of events that occurred, but it also mentioned the musical play that was created based on the story and then continues the article with direct quotes from the “stranded passengers”. The inclusion of first hand accounts makes this a relevant and helpful source for this topic. 

Scanlon, T. Joseph. “Helping the Other Victims of September 11: Gander Uses Multiple EOCs to Deal with 38 Diverted Flights”. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Volume 18 Issue 2. May 2003.

This source is a book written on the emergency management of aircraft, especially as it pertains to Gander International Airport's role during the 9/11 emergency. This source is credible because it focuses on the measures that Gander international took in the face of a high stress, international disaster.

Street, Francesca. “Gander: This Canadian Airport Sheltered 7,000 People on 9/11.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 July 2019, www.cnn.com/travel/article/gander-international-airport-canada/index.html.

This source is an article that comes from the UCF database, describing the stressful conditions that the U.S. passengers and the people of Gander experienced on 9/11. This source is valuable because it combines the narrative of the historical event and statistics. Providing statistics is an efficient way to convey credibility and reliability to the reader. 

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Street, Francesca. “Gander: This Canadian Airport Sheltered 7,000 People on 9/11.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 July 2019, www.cnn.com/travel/article/gander-international-airport-canada/index.html.

Street, Francesca. “Gander: This Canadian Airport Sheltered 7,000 People on 9/11.” CNN, Cable News Network, 13 July 2019, www.cnn.com/travel/article/gander-international-airport-canada/index.html.