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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
More eyewitness accounts of the attack on the US
Thousands are feared dead after a series of devastating attacks targeting the USA's financial and military centres in New York and Washington.

Were you near the scenes of these attacks?

Thank you for your e-mails. This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your eye-witness accounts is published below.

Click here to return to the latest eyewitness reports

I live close to the World Trade Center. I usually wake up late but I was awakened by a friend who came buzzing at my apartment at around 10 AM. She works at a building next to the WTC. I let her in and she said in a scared tone of voice that the WTC towers had been completely destroyed. I was completely shocked and was worried about the other people I knew who could be in danger. Two more friends arrived luckily safe and sound. One of them lost her shoes during a stampede. She said that many were trampled, including a child that she was about to help but was pushed away further by the panicking crowd. She walked without shoes and her feet were badly hurt.
Andrew, New York, USA

I actually screamed and then began to cry as the reality of what had happened sank in

Paul Coleridge, USA
I have spent most of the day in a daze. My father works a block from the White House, right on the National Mall. He was there today and was evacuated, and then rushed away in a bomb threat. My sister lives in Washington DC and her school was shut down. My mother works on a nearby Navy Base, where they quickly went to the highest level of security, and she is still stuck there, unable to get home. It is very hard to see the pictures on TV, and know that your family is out there and they are all so vulnerable. Everything is quiet now, and the streets are empty. We are all just sitting at home, worried, trying to make sense of senselessness.
Elizabeth Nourse, USA

I was at my desk when I looked up and saw the air filled with paper, then the smoke from WTC, then the flames. My colleagues and I looked on helplessly from our building, wondering how the people could escape. We were on the 39th floor of a building about half a mile away. At that stage no one knew whether it was an accident or not although there was talk about the WTC being hit by an aircraft. As we were powerless to help, I returned to my desk after about 15 minutes. The moment I sat down a large aircraft flew past the window, banked sharply and ploughed into the second tower. I knew then that it was no accident and the financial district seemed under attack. I ran for the elevator and with another colleague escaped the area. It is difficult to take in the events of this morning.
Trevor , NY, USA

My PATH Train (a train like the subway), pulled in to the station underneath the World Trade Center at about 8:50 am, apparently a few minutes after the first plane hit. When we got off the train, there were no alarms or announcements, but there was a strong smell like a combination of smoke and exhaust fumes. The station was undergoing renovations, so I thought maybe there was a fire because of the construction. When I got up to the lower concourse, I heard a fire alarm and the smell of smoke was heavier so I figured I should get out of there as quickly as possible, even though most people were acting like nothing was wrong. You have to ride a very long escalator to get to the main concourse level, and people were just calmly riding the escalator, not even walking, like nothing was happening. When I reached the top of the escalator, I could see people running for the exits and there was visible smoke but it didn't seem like total panic. I turned to look towards where the entrance to one of the towers would be and all I could see was a wall of white smoke coming in towards the concourse. I heard one woman yell "a plane hit the world trade center!" and another woman yelled "they're bombing the world trade center!"
I headed for the exit and when I got outside it quickly became apparent how major the damage was. There was debris raining down everywhere. As people stepped outside, they turned to look up at the towers and said "oh my God" as they saw the flames and black smoke pouring out of the upper floors. People were running around trying to get away from the debris.
John, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA

All New Yorkers will probably know someone who has died today when the final count becomes known

Zandra Ellis, New York, USA
I left Boston this morning for a flight to Orange County (greater Los Angeles) on an American Airline flight with a stop in Chicago. Upon landing, we were held on the runway. Immediately, cell phones starting going off. Like a wave-- the news moved from the back of the plane to the front. I write this from a hotel in Chicago-- safe. I pray for those who have lost their lives. I share the comments of many on this page--"many have grievances... but this is not the way of expressing them." Terrorism is the new global cancer that we all must unite against.
Paul Antenore, Boston USA

Four months ago I moved to NY from Bayswater, London. After hearing sirens and explosions this morning, I walked into my living room to find that both twin towers that dominate the view from my window, were on fire. In shock I immediately attempted to contact my boyfriend who works close to the towers. My flat is on the 22nd floor of a building on Union Square which faces south so my view was unimpeded. I initially thought it was merely a fire and that the towers would be heavily damaged. I switched on the news to find to my horror that it was a terrorist attack. When the first tower collapsed, I began to shake and cry as it was so terrifying and unexpected.
My boyfriend, was trapped in his building due to the volume of debris and smoke, which had turned the day to night and made breathing impossible. Thankfully he was later able to walk home and is unharmed. The streets are packed with people. Everyone is subdued and almost all the shops are closed. Many people are just sitting on the pavement. It seems that everyone is in shock. It is an historic and tragic day which has left us all feeling extremely insecure and bewildered.
Yvonne Burton, USA

I may have lost many colleagues, luckily my wife made it out of the area before the towers collapsed. She witnessed the original explosions from her building nearby. Devastating and demoralising. This shall never be forgotten. Investigations must be intense and complete. Action must be taken.
Mike, USA

I was working in NYC, 31st floor of a nearby office where I saw the attack and collapse of the Twin Towers. It was difficult to see or breathe with all the smoke and debris. The smoke continues to billow as the sirens blare. It is the saddest and most worrying thing I have ever seen.
Sandy, UK

When the first tower collapsed, I began to shake and cry as it was so terrifying and unexpected

Yvonne Burton, USA
The smoke is still pouring into the sky from the area of Manhattan just across the bay at Sandy Hook/ Gateway National Park. It appears there are now naval operations as many of the coast guard stations in the area have been put on alert. It is very strange that during the incidents this morning, sirens were blaring throughout the area.
John Burnetski, Seabright, N.J. US.

We live in Arlington, VA just outside of Washington, DC in a high-rise building on the eight floor. Our balcony faces the city, with a panoramic view of the Pentagon, National Airport, and the entire downtown area of Washington, DC. We were watching the events unfolding on TV in New York. Then, at about 9:40 am Eastern Daylight Time, my husband and I heard an aircraft directly overhead. At first, we thought it was the jets that sometimes fly overhead. However, it appeared to be a small commercial aircraft. The engine was at full throttle.
First, the plane knocked down a number of street lamp poles, then headed directly for the Pentagon and crashed on the lawn near the west side the Pentagon. A huge fireball exploded with thick black smoke. Fire and rescue vehicles arrived soon thereafter and begin to attempt to put out the fire and rescue victims. Since then, the West side of the Pentagon has collapsed and is still smouldering. The city of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia where the Pentagon and many other defence-related facilities are located is under a state of emergency and high alert, with helicopters and F-16s flying overheard. The enormity of what we witnessed and what has happened has just begun to sink in. We just thank God we are okay and that it happened in Washington, DC where we are prepared to handle situations such as this.
D. S. Khavkin, Arlington, VA, USA

Shock...utter shock. I live 60 miles from Washington DC. Due to cancelled flights I am putting up some friends that cannot leave Virginia. I lived in NJ until recently and have dear friends that work(ed) in the WTC. God bless their families. My gut says to turn the desert into glass, my mind says only the guilty should suffer, and my heart weeps. God bless America
Paul Zdepski, Winchester VA, USA

I'm British and live and work in Manhattan and the sense of shock and disbelief is incredible. Apart from the immediate aftermath, the most amazing thing is that there was very little panic in the streets away from the immediate area. People are calmly trying to get home to their loved ones and are being patient and cooperative despite the difficulties of moving around. It just serves to demonstrate how resilient the spirit of the people of this great city are. New York City will bounce back from this outrage. It will not break us...
Matt Rayner, USA

I was a few blocks north of the financial district. I was in the street when the second building collapsed. It looked like an avalanche coming down. It is horrible to think of up to 50,000 people hurt and injured. As I walked to Grand Central it was surreal. People seemed dazed that this could happen. Masses of people were heading north and trying to get off of the island. Several building was surrounded by armed military. Every one seems to be in shock. All transportation out of the city is close leaving thousands of people stranded in the city. Everyone seems to be at a loss as to what to do immediately and in the future.
LJ Grau, USA

We are in a state of utter shock. State government has closed for the day here, universities have closed, too. There is an eerie quiet. We are all in a daze. My nephew called, wondering if his childhood friend was able to get out. There is no answer yet. How do you begin to console and explain why?
Colleen S., Tallahassee, FL, USA

I live across the river from the World Trade Center and can see it from my street. I went out to look after the first crash and saw a plane coming in low and make a deliberate turn towards the building. Then I saw the explosion. We watched all morning the smoke drifting towards us and saw the towers collapse. Each collapse shook my house. Many of my friends and neighbours were in those buildings. Later we saw Stealth Bombers circling overhead. Later still, some of the smoke started drifting over us and tiny bits of soot would occasionally fall. I wonder if the bodies of my friends and neighbours are part of that soot. Many children in my town will be parentless tonight.
Beth Goodtree, Bloomfield, NJ; USA

I was in a class at my college in downtown Brooklyn... when someone who was online said that the Pentagon was attacked and soon all classes were cancelled for the day. We could see the Manhattan skyline engulfed in smoke. We can normally see the WTCs but were shocked to see only smoke... this was around 10:30 AM EDT. All subways and buses were closed... cell phones did not work for like one or more hrs...we could not contact our family...ironically the internet was up and running so I used a website to call home. We gathered like 15 of our friends who all live in the borough of Queens of NYC...It took us more than four-and-a-half hours, a normal ride of one hour to get home.
Abhinav, New York, USA

I am on the Columbia University campus right now, about 144 blocks north of the WTC. All classes have been cancelled, and there is a surreal feeling here on the streets, but people feel much safer up here and cafes are open, people are walking up and down the sidewalks shopping as usual. The only indication that anything is amiss downtown are the long payphone lines (cell phones aren't working) the occasion roar of F-14s passing overhead. Most people can't get home because of the subway shutdown. I have yet to hear from friends who work and attend school downtown, and all New Yorkers will probably know someone who has died today when the final count becomes known.
Zandra Ellis, New York, USA

We're eight miles from NYC. My husband works in Jersey City, pretty much directly across from the WTC. He and some of the other managers were outside the store looking at the Twin Towers when the second plane hit. They didn't see the plane, but they could see the explosion.
They're bringing people over to New Jersey, to get them out of the City. They're using the former Military Ocean Terminal here in Bayonne for triage, bringing the injured over on boats. People are walking across the bridges connecting Manhattan to the outer boroughs to get home. My mother, who lives in downtown Bayonne, saw a couple of fighter jets over her house. My husband later saw them fly over toward NYC. I'm assuming that they were F-16s.

I live in Virginia but work in DC, I was listening to the radio about the what was thought to be a tragic accident in NY when the second plane hit the second tower, I was in shock, it was live on the radio about 15 minutes later as I approached the Wilson Bridge I saw a passenger plane that seemed to be struggling to stay in the air and I slammed my brakes thinking it was going to slam into the highway and then there was a ball of fire, I couldn't help it I actually screamed and then began to cry as the reality of what had happened sank in.
Paul Coleridge, USA

I was walking on 34th Street and 6th Avenue when I heard a plane above, very low, loud. After that looking down on Fifth Avenue, lots of smoke coming from the WTC. An unbelievable sight!
Carlo Marzot, New York, US

I was driving to work when I heard about the first plane hitting the tower. About 10 minutes after I got to the office the other plane hit. My entire office, around 30 people, crowded around the TV in the break room totally stunned. After the attack on the Pentagon, some wept. The office has been very quiet since then.
You have to remember that, unlike the UK and some other European countries, the US has little experience of terrorism. I believe that this was not terrorism but, by virtue of the attacks simultaneously being made against the government, financial centres and the military, an act of war. I believe that America cannot possibly allow this to go unpunished, and hope that any retaliation will be carefully targeted.
Dave Ashford - Brit Ex-Pat in Atlanta, US

Everyone, I know is walking around stunned, numbed, and in state of total shock

I Baldizon, USA
I live in Washington, DC. The entire city is on total lock down. There is not traffic in or out of the city. Everyone, I know is walking around stunned, numbed, and in state of total shock... also, everyone is very fearful and no one feels safe.
I Baldizon, USA

I was taking the subway downtown when service was suspended. There was a clear line of sight down 7th Avenue to the Trade Center, where huge plumes of smoke came out of the West Tower - then there was a fireball out of the other tower. The plane had just hit the other side. People were standing in the middle of Seventh Avenue, crying. And now it's hard to process the information when I look outside and the twin towers are no longer there. I keep looking at the Empire State Building to make sure it's still there. It's unbelievable.
Debra Euler, United States

I am here in NY visiting my girlfriend. I was in the subway about 2-3 blocks away when it happened. Smoke started pouring into the subway tunnel, and no-one knew where it was coming from. There was panic as people tried to run for the exits, but at the turnstiles, many people were trying to flee back down because the smoke outside was worse. Finally when the crowd thinned, I walked out into a cloud of ash like something from a volcanic eruption. I took off my t-shirt and used it as a gas mask. I walked with thousands of others toward the Manhattan Bridge. I had no idea what was going on, and there were lots of rumours flying around. When someone told me the World Trade Centre had collapsed I didn't believe them. But when I got out of the thick dust, I could see smoke and flames pouring out of one of the towers. Afterwards, I joined the exodus crossing the bridge and walked the length of Brooklyn to get back to my girlfriend's place. The city was in chaos.
Alex Lamb, UK

I saw the last of the walls and twisted columns of the tower sink into a cloud of dust

Terry McClenahan, SoHo, New York City, USA
I am in our New York office on Madison, I saw the second plane hit earlier today, I cannot believe the devastation. It is now 3pm, all of Midtown and Manhattan is empty. I have never seen New York as quiet. I believe it will take the business community a long time to get over this.
Nic Pay, UK

At 9:15, as I left the subway at Canal St. and 6th Avenue, a huge group of ambulances and police cars screamed by. At first I thought it was some Secret Service escort. But then I saw the smoke-- and the flames licking out of the sides of both towers. The skins of the buildings were scarred and cut, as if someone had drawn a huge knife across the faces of the towers. Everyone on the sidewalk was numb with shock. I work as an architect about 1 mile (2 km) from the World Trade Center. Later at work, I saw the second tower starting to crumble on TV, then ran to our office window overlooking Broadway. In shock, I saw the last of the walls and twisted columns of the tower sink into a cloud of dust. May the Lord have mercy on the souls of those who lost their lives in this catastrophe. As for those who orchestrated and planned this carnage-- for this they are certainly going to hell.
Terry McClenahan, SoHo, New York City, USA

I am a British guy working out of Midtown Manhattan, and watched in horror as what appeared to be an awful accident turned into a sustained and deliberate terrorist attack. Out in the streets of Midtown, there are hundreds of people walking away from downtown, many in a state of shock, some with ash on their clothes. The scene where the WTC used to stand looks as if a volcano has erupted; plumes of smoke obscure the skyline.
Matt Paine, USA

This is a terrorism act that should be called a cruel and a cowardly action. I sympathise with American people.
Kamran, Iran

Only cowards would target innocent people

Michael Klein, USA
I work in Virginia a few miles from the Pentagon and live in Washington DC. I was on the phone with my girlfriend in New York with concern over the attacks in Manhattan when a co-worker rushed in and told me about the attack on the Pentagon. I ran to a conference room window and watched the smoke billow up over the DC skyline. It's horrible. My office (obviously) closed. I have been sitting at home listening to the sounds of the planes and helicopters overhead. It is certainly shocking to have this be happening in America.
Colleen, Washington DC, USA

We all just froze, in utter disbelief

Gavin Hart, Manhattan, USA
I saw 1 WTC collapse right before my eyes. The building just shuttered almost like a sneeze and completely went down. All of us in the street started running. I kept walking and running until I reached 14th Street. When I looked back 2 WTC was also gone. I pray for all those lost and want the US to get all people responsible.
Teresa Quick USA

I am originally from Hitchin, Herts, UK. I work in Washington DC area, and was on my way to work, in my car, sitting on a bridge, and saw the plane hit the Pentagon. I am in a complete state of shock.
Pam Bradley, USA

I heard everyone gasp around me as I walked to work up Fifth Avenue, so I spun around. Right before my eyes I was seeing a huge fireball explode out from one of the towers, the result of the second plane crash. We all just froze, in utter disbelief. It was like some sick special effects joke from 'Independence Day' - but this was no movie, this was actually happening. We heard later that people were seen jumping from windows on elevated storeys of the towers to try and escape the flames, just before the towers collapsed. Absolutely harrowing, surreal and shocking in equal measure.
Gavin Hart, Manhattan, USA

I live in the East Village on 7th street between Avenues B and C and was taking in the morning on my patio, which used to have a wonderful view of the World Trade Center. I saw the first jet come at very high velocity and impact the North Tower. The impact was then preceded by a large boom, fire and an amazing amount of smoke. The smoke still billows and there in an eerie lack of sound in New York. I no longer hear airport traffic only the roar of the fighter planes now patrolling the sky over New York.
Chad C, New York

I work on the fifth floor, sorry, worked there. When I ran out of the building and kept running away, the only thing I could think of was that the reporters and other people who were still standing outside the buildings... they were all going to die. I saw the inside walls of the building crumbling, I knew it was going to fall! The people I saw are dead now!
Mary, New York

At about 8:45am I was lying in bed listening to Howard Stern. I thought I heard a single burst of thunder and thought it was something falling from construction on 9th St (I live on St Mark's Place in the East Village). Then my sister came in and told me and we watched it on TV. We went onto our roof where we have good views of the WTCs... we unfortunately watched both collapse. It was very uncool, unbelievable and surreal. It was the most shocking thing I've ever seen (and I've seen shocking things). There were people on roofs all over and everyone screamed in unison when the first one collapsed. I'm sitting here with the TV news on with my jaw fixed in a dropped position. Sirens everywhere outside.
Beth Carey, NY, NY, USA

I was on the 8th floor of my building watching this horrific event take place. I took 21 photos of this whole incident and this is something that everyone in the world should remember.
Bill Loschiavo, USA

I saw everything from my balcony in Soho. The first plane tried to veer off the tower but slammed straight into it, followed by the second plane. There was smoke everywhere. I heard the bomb and saw both buildings crumble like biscuits. I am scared and want to go home.
Nadine Keller, New York City

I work in World Trade 2 and decided not to go to work today... thank god. I live like 15 minutes away and got the whole thing on video... This is a serious catastrophe.
Adrien Vargas, USA

It was the most shocking thing I've ever seen

Beth Carey, New York, USA

It's at moments like these that you feel the most helpless, the most human

Steven, USA
I was playing chess with a friend in the park when the plane hit... then the second one rocketed into the building... people running and screaming. It's at moments like these that you feel the most helpless, the most human.
Steven, USA

From our offices about 4 miles outside of NYC we see the plumes of smoke rising from where the World Trade Centre once stood. Many People have friends and family who work in and around the twin towers and most are generally shocked and outraged.
Graham, NJ, USA

I was crossing the street when the second plane crashed. It was the most terrifying experience of my life...I prayed to Jehovah to save my life.
John Brown, USA

I saw the second plane fly through the southern tower. It went straight through it. There had to be bombs within the plane for it to explode so much.

People were running away screaming

George, USA
I came out of the subway, just after the first plane hit, to scenes of absolute chaos. People were running away screaming. The sight of a hole in the side of the building was completely shocking. I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to get home. The neighbourhood is covered in a thick pall of smoke now the 2nd tower has collapsed.
George, USA

All federal and trade centers have been shut down in Chicago. The Sears Tower has been shut down as well. There is nary a soul in the nation that has not been shocked by this act.
Raphael Del Rio, USA, Illinois, Chicago

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