Monday, July 13, 2009
Testimony shows WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed to ash
From the book September 11: An Oral History by Dean E. Murphy
"Soul-stirring firsthand accounts—terrifying transports—of living through the disasters of September 11.
"But those that most whiten the knuckles by far are the near-escapes. For instance, the fireman who dove into the lobby of the South Tower to escape the crumbling edifice and was buried in the rubble"
"Teresa Veliz was the facilities manager for Clearforest, a software development company that had offices on the 47th floor of the North Tower. Because she had two narrow escapes on September 11--one on an elevator and one on an escalator"
A Prayer to Die Quickly and Painlessly
In the North Tower
We finally reached the bottom, dumping out on to the concourse level. The sprinklers were on, so it had gotten pretty wet. We went through the turnstile and were directed toward the shopping mall. The place was empty except for security officers and police positioned every so often to give us directions. Turn left. Go straight. Turn. Straight. When we got the escalator near the Warner Bros. Store, the gentleman posted there shouted, "Pick up the pace!" That made me nervous. We started to move faster, though we didn't run. We got on the escalator, and as I looked to the top, I could see sunlight through the glass doors. I am free! I am free! That was all that came to mind. I am free! I am free!
We were halfway up when the escalator stopped abruptly and the lights went out. I waited and listened for some sort of instructions. BOOM! The glass doors at the top of the escalator shattered. I thought it was a bomb. But then a huge wind, with the force of a hurricane, swept across us. I don't know what happened to the people standing in front of us, but I think they were blown away. Something hit me in the head and I felt my body being pushed backward so hard that I was about to break in half. It took all of my strength to fight the wind. I started yelling, "Get down! Get down!" I grabbed Karin and crouched over her, pinning her to the stairs with my leg. I had her head in my stomach. I was so afraid that she was going to blow away. "I got you! I got you! You're okay," I shouted at her. It felt like people were stoning me. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. I was getting pounded all over with metal and glass and other flying objects. Then the whole building started to tremble. I feared the ceiling was going to come down on us or that the escalators would be ripped apart and we would fall into some hole and be swallowed up deep inside the Earth.
I accepted death. My luck had run out. I was meant to die earlier on that elevator. "God, I can't run any more," I said. "I guess this is it." I was at peace with it but I made one last request. "I just ask one thing," I prayed. "Please do it quick. This stuff is really hurting now." I was afraid how I was going to go. The thought of being flattened like a pancake was very scary. I closed my eyes really tight and waited. But by some miracle, the wind stopped. There was no more shaking. The air felt heavy but I was not being pelted anymore. Everything was completely silent.
I opened my eyes, and there was nothing but darkness. "Dear God," I said. "I am blind." I felt around. Karin was there. She was fine except for some bleeding on her arm. My face was stinging and my neck and back ached, but I could move. "Hello! Hello!" I started to shout. "Somebody help us. Please tell us what to do." I wasn't blind. I could see a little light. It was someone with a flashlight. "Follow the flashlight," an instruction from nowhere came. "Follow the flashlight." I grabbed Karin's hand, when a lady on the stairs behind me said, "Please help me." I turned and grabbed her with my other hand and yelled, "No matter what happens, don't let go of my hand! Do you understand?" She said yes and so we started up the escalator stairs. As we felt our away along, there were shoes and sandals everywhere. I can only guess that the people in them had run away or had been blown away.
Read more testimony
The guys in the interview looking at the wall were standing where WTC2 stood. Where is the huge pile of debris that should be here? WTC7, which NIST says collapsed in much the same manner was a tangled mess of considerable height.
At its first public hearing, the 9/11 Commission takes testimony from New York Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Pataki arrives early and insists that he be allowed to speak immediately, so Commission Chairman Tom Kean interrupts the commissioners opening statements expressing their pride in serving on the investigation. Pataki then reads a prepared statement pledging the states co-operation with the investigation and leaves without taking questions.