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Eyewitness Account

The Harbus spoke with Nikhil Bahel, an eyewitness to the tragedy in New York. Bahel, an Associate in the investment banking major Salomon Smith Barney was on his way to work, and his cab dropped him under the WTC minutes after the first impact had occurred.

He recalls seeing the huge gaping hole. Bahel estimates that the impact would have happened close to the 80th floor. People above the floor were trapped and had no means of escape. As the glass in the building shattered, he recalls the sickening sight of trapped people jumping from the building in desperation.

He believes that a significant number of people in the lower floors were evacuated successfully. As soon as the first impact had occurred all buildings in the vicinity started evacuation. Thus the second tower was already in the process of being emptied out when the second impact happened. Bahel actually witnessed the impact and had to run as the debris from that impact hurtled down towards the street.

The fact that the buildings remained standing helped action immediate rescue operations. However the implosions took with them several hundred rescue workers. As people were walking back towards midtown, they noticed the smoke intensifying around the buildings and then realized in sickening horror that it was the dust and debris of the towers imploding in front of their eyes. As they watched, the tower kept falling into itself and in seconds it was no longer there.

Cellular phone lines were already jammed, and their wireless email service came to the rescue as people frantically emailed their loved ones to let them know they were safe. The mounds have debris have made rescue work extremely difficult. As building number seven also caught fire and subsequently collapsed entering the area to execute rescue operations became even tougher. As of this moment the Marriott Hotel too is in flames.

September 10, 2001
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