Regarded as one of the deadliest attacks in human history- the attacks of 9/11 took more than 3,000 lives and affected over 10,000.
It all started with four planes high jacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists. The planes held a high amount of fuel storage and were thus selected for hijacking. One of them hit the north tower of WTC at around 8:45 am. The second plane hit the south tower of WTC a few minutes later. At 9:37 am third flight hit the Pentagon. The fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, southeast of Pittsburgh, at 10:03 a.m. after the passengers fought the four hijackers. The plane’s initial destination was supposed to be the country’s capital or the white house, but through the bravery of passengers and crew, they managed to gamble over the hijackers and crashed the plane on an empty street in Pittsburg, killing all 44 passengers including crew and the hijackers. After the hit on both the towers of the world trade center, dust, smoke, and fire started throughout the building followed by multiple explosions.
People struggled to live, and horror and fear echoed everywhere. The floors were burning from the inside making it impossible for people to continue breathing. To escape the heat, many people jumped out of the windows from the 90th floor or more, such was the intensity of heat that people chose to jump instead of waiting for help. Many people survived the twin tower attack, but many doesn’t. Around 2996 people lost their lives minutes after the plane hit the tower. It wasn’t the death that was disturbing, but the fact that only a handful of lives were lost due to the plane crash, the rest died of what followed afterward. Desperate to survive, these people did everything in their power but ultimately lost the battle in this war of superiority.
20 years later, the memory remains fresh
Many people left voice notes, and many weren’t ready to die. After 45 minutes of burning (south), the tower began to wreck and within minutes it turned out to be a mountain of debris. Later after struggling for 102 minutes, the north tower also collided. Almost 3000 people lost their lives that day including almost 400 firefighters along with several law workers and police officers. 6,000 people were injured. The attack left so much of carcinogens in the atmosphere that 3,000 out of them were later detected as cancer. 90 nations lost their citizens with the majority from US, India, and Israel.
With so many casualties, there were of course some miracle survivors as well that by luck or will, made it out alive. Like the ‘surfing man’, who survived the collapse of the WTC Tower with a broken ankle, a few bruises, and scratches. People believe that the man has survived down the wreckage only to land above the pile of debris. There are speculations that he fell from the 90th floor and survived by a miracle. Another was a lady who was rescued that next day almost 27 hours after the collapse. She was found below the debris and said that his initial rescuer was someone named Paul, who remains a mystery.
Then two officers too were buried under the concrete and were saved by a former marine officer ‘James’, who later disappeared. Here we focus on a much smaller group of people who either escaped or were rescued from Ground Zero after being trapped by the Towers 39, falls. Just 20 people are known to fit this description. Four of those were trapped and rescued by Ground Zero workers. The rest found their way out of that scene of incomprehensible destruction. All their stories of survival are remarkable.
Pasquale Buzzelli was on the 64th floor in his office and decided to remain inside with his colleague thinking it would be safer only until they saw the other tower collide, they ran downwards through the only remained staircase. As they made it to the 22nd floor their tower started to collide as well, he stood in the corner holding the shaking wall and within the moment everything went black.
After three hours he regained his consciousness only to know that he is still alive at the top of the concrete remains with the fractured leg. He was later rescued by the firefighters. Another woman named Guzman, also made it out alive as she was rescued more than 23 hours later from pain. Her leg was completely crushed and was surrounded by the corpses. Fourteen people, mostly firefighters from Ladder Company 6 and Engine 39, survived in the B stairwell of the North Tower and crawled to safety. Janice was on the 83rd floor in her office in the north tower when she heard a bang from another tower and all that she could see was dusk, smoke, and paper floating. As she ran down the corridor along with seven other people, her tower was hit by a plane and was at the edge of colliding. Miraculously this lady made it out on time and survived the attack.
To be more precise, every New Yorker is a survivor. A study conducted on the entire United States population outside New York reported symptoms like nightmares, sleeplessness, and anxiety in the days after September 11. And for every non-New Yorker who suffered, three New Yorkers reported symptoms and this ratio grows more for people living closer to the World Trade Centre.
The attack was termed the deadliest in human history. The horrific attack took thousands of lives and led others to death with diseases and trauma that followed the event.