AP National Writer
NEW YORK (AP) -- In a horrific sequence of destruction, two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and one of the towers collapsed Tuesday morning in what the President Bush said was an apparent terrorist attack. A witness said he saw bodies falling from the 110-story towers and people jumping out.
The president ordered a full-scale investigation to "hunt down the folks who committed this act."
Within the hour, an aircraft crashed at the Pentagon as well, and officials evacuated the White House and other major government building.
One of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center had been hijacked after takeoff from Boston, a U.S. official said, citing a transmission from the plane.
The planes that slammed into the Trade Center blasted fiery, gaping holes in the upper floors of the twin towers. The southern tower collapsed with a roar about an hour later.
"This is perhaps the most audacious terrorist attack that's ever taken place in the world," said Chris Yates, an avaiation expert at Jane's Transpoet in London. "It takes a logistics operation from the terror group involved that is second to none. Only a very small handful of terror groups is on that list. ... I would name at the top of the list Osama Bin Laden."
All planes were grounded across the country by the Federal Aviation Administration. All bridges and tunnels into Manhattan were closed down.