Whitehorse 9/11

Ten years after the September 11th attacks Max Fraser still has questions. But his inquiries are less about the tragedy in New York than the still mysterious and surreal experience people in Whitehorse went through.

Ten years after the September 11th attacks Max Fraser still has questions.

But his inquiries are less about the tragedy in New York than the still mysterious and surreal experience people in Whitehorse went through.

That’s the subject of his film, Never Happen Here – The Whitehorse 9/11 Story.

“Everybody in Whitehorse has a story,” said Fraser. “If they were in town on 9/11 they’ve got a story to tell.

“It was a pretty big experience for people.”

Whitehorse residents interviewed for the documentary tell of initially feeling safe and secure in their northern isolation when learning about the calamity that had befallen New York City that day.

However, that feeling was short lived.

The city was soon gripped by panic.

Authorities reported that a hijacked Korean airliner was bearing down on the city.

Schools and government buildings were evacuated.

Worried parents raced through traffic-clogged streets to retrieve their children as people fled the downtown.

It turned out the plane wasn’t hijacked.

But a decade later, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Questions that Fraser explores through his documentary.

Who sent the airline text message that led air traffic controllers to believe the plane was hijacked? The Korean Air ground crew, or the pilots themselves?

Why did American air traffic controllers order the pilot to change his transponder code to 7500 – the international signal for hijacked – before it entered Canadian air space?

And why, if it was thought to be hijacked, was it rerouted to Whitehorse at all?

These questions linger a decade later.

Fraser’s documentary tells the story through personal interviews and archival footage.

The film has been screened in several film festivals throughout North America.

It even picked up a few awards along the way, including best documentary film editing from the Colorado Film Festival and a special jury award for world peace and understanding from the Worldfest Houston International Film festival.

“The most ignominious award was from the Boonies International Film Festival, where I got a prize for being the oldest filmmaker,” said Fraser.

This Sunday there will be a special screening at the Yukon Arts Centre in commemoration of those tragic events 10 years ago.

The documentary is also being shown on the CBC Documentary Channel the same day.

“I’ve had a lot of local people express their thanks to me for doing the documentary in the first place so that our story could be told,” said Fraser.

Having this screening in Whitehorse on the anniversary of the attacks was important, he said.

“It was a pretty big event and this will be an opportunity for people to gather and talk about it.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read