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Breakfast with Frost
Stephen Evans, North American Business Correspondent
Stephen Evans, North American Business Correspondent
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: STEPHEN EVANS, NORTH AMERICAN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT SEPTEMBER 8th, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: One of those actually inside the World Trade Center when the first plane struck was the BBC reporter Stephen Evans. Last night I spoke to him from New York, indeed from a spot a couple of hundred yards from ground zero, and asked him about the reaction of those around him, those inside the World Trade Center when the first plane struck.

STEPHEN EVANS: All I can remember happening is the walls shaking at the bottom of the South Tower and a rush of air. And even now when you get that kind of impact which makes the walls shake and that rush of air like a door slamming, it makes me a little bit frightened. But I was basically - I'm trying to work out where it was - and it's just beyond the crane I think. People then fled out through the back of the South Tower, in that direction, as the smoke descended. But what I remember about it all was, it was remarkably calm, people were incredulous I think, really. You looked up you saw the North Tower on fire and people assumed there'd been some kind of prank or a tragic accident, but it was an incredulity and it was calmness initially. Now obviously when the second plane went in, everybody knew it wasn't an accident and as well when people started appearing at the top of the North Tower, above the flames, hanging out, well then the calmness simply evaporated, people knew that something very, very serious was happening then.

DAVID FROST: And then of course when the first tower collapsed that changed everything for the worst.

STEPHEN EVANS: Absolutely, I can remember in the street just beside this hotel on which I'm standing, there was a line of ambulances - a very, very orderly line. I think everybody assumed the authorities were in control, everybody assumed safety, if you like. But then, you're absolutely right, when that tower went down, everybody knew that nothing at all was safe.

DAVID FROST: And how has New York changed in the last year as a result of all this, this event that you witnessed so closely?

STEPHEN EVANS: Long time New Yorkers will tell you that on a subway, on the underground railway, people now meet each other's eyes. The old way with New Yorkers was never look at any, never look anybody in the eye because you get some kind of angry reaction. Now there is that human contact on the subway. The other thing I notice is that if you talk to firemen now, they will often, at the end of the conversation, they'll very, very pointedly look at you and they'll say "take care of yourself". That's something which I think is new and I find it very moving.

DAVID FROST: But what of the effect on you, Stephen, you said the BBC offered you counselling which you declined, but you said it has all had an effect on you in sort of everyday ways.

STEPHEN EVANS: I think so. I mean I don't want to over egg it, as in I was on the ground floor, I went through nothing compared to what thousands of people went through - bereaved people, whatever, people who saw the people jumping off the buildings, that kind of thing. Everybody you talk to who was actually there will say that they're much, much quieter now, they're much more thoughtful, they're slower to get angry, they value friendship much, much more. I think there's a little bit of fear in me, I'm sure that people in this city are very fearful still, everybody assumes that another attack - I think most people assume that another attack will happen.

DAVID FROST: Another attack will happen. That was Stephen Evans talking to me last night.

INTERVIEW ENDS

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