Sunday, September 4, 2011

7- Horror of Horrors

The North Tower -- struck by American Airlines flight 11 at 8:46 a.m. (the officially agreed upon time) -- sustained the most lost of life at about 1,400 people. Of these, nearly 600 came from one company, Cantor Fitzgerald.
The exploding jumbo jet destroyed all the escape routes above the 98 th floor when it hit. Whereas hundreds did from the smoke and flames or in the building's eventual collapse, two hundred jumped to their deaths. The ninety-two people on the plane also perished. Witnesses on the floors below felt the building shake and saw a strange black snow falling outside their windows -- snow that rapidly turned to embers. Officers grew hot. People wetted down their faces with water. Sprinkler caps popped.
Business people in a breakfast meeting at Forecasting and Business Analysis saw the chandelier shake, and as they made their escape, saw the second plane striking the South Tower -- increasing their terror. Each later reported more horrible still was the sight of falling bodies from the floors above.
Twisted ironies abound, such as the death of Ira Weiss of Montville at nearly the same instant as his son was being born. Fate killed one person, yet spared another with no rime or reason. Where as Christopher Ingrass missed arriving at work because he had stayed up late to watch the Denver Broncos beat the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, and died anyway, a member of the Gonnelli family of Secaucus, also employed there, flew out for the game and could not get back, so survived. Both had worked at Cantor-Fitzgerald.
Gricelida James, of Willingboro, a 44-year-old administrative assistant at International Office Centers Corp. worked on the 79 th floor of the North Tower. She gave a frantic call to her husband saying she was trapped in her office and that the exits were blocked by debris falling from 17 floors above hers. She was not seen alive again.
Steven Russin, of Morganville, was on the 104 th floor when the plane hit. His parents later reported seeing his face at one of the windows of the North Tower. Russin was among the 148 Monmouth County residents to perish in the collapse.
Thomas Wayne Hobson, 36, another employee of Cantor-Fitzgerald, died along with two bartenders from a Hoboken tavern he owned. He had found day jobs for the men.
Fanny Espeinoza called home to Teaneck on her cellular telephone. The licencing officer's voice was frantic.
At 9:02 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175, carrying 65 people, struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center resulting in the death of slightly more than six hundred people there. Many people had flooded to the windows to observe the tragedy unfolding in the North Tower when the second plane took them by surprise. The plane struck between the 78 th and 84 th floor. Witnesses later reported seeing faces appear at the hole after the flames subsided, many of these people began to jump.
Although tragic stories of death resulted, many people performed heroci acts, although for loved ones living in New Jersey, hearing the ghostly voices of desperate people from the South Tower in those last moments will haunt them forever.
Aon Corporation was to the South Tower what Cantor-Fitzgerald was to the North. Fuel spilled over the unsuspected employees, incinerating many of them. Yet -- thanks to the efforts of a handful of people -- some of Aon's employees survived.
Perry Thomspon, of Monroe, New Jersey, called his wife from the 98 th floor twice, once at 9 a.m. after the plane hit the North Tower, then again just after the second plane hit the South Tower where he was. He spoke to the answering machine to tell his wife his floor was being evacuated. He never made it out.
Gigi Singer, a few floor up on the 103 rd floor, also worked for Aon, but managed to escape although she badly turned both her arms. Kelly Reyher stepped back into her office on the 100 th floor when the elevator she intended to take burst into flames. This saved her life. Judy Wieners shattered her forearms, broke her ribs and punctured her lung when the jet's impact threw her. She also managed to escape, as did Keating Crown with a few cuts and Donna Spera with burned arms and a crushed hand.
Many claimed they woned their lives to a man named Welles Crowther, who helped others escape although he perished when the South Tower collapsed.

No comments:

Post a Comment