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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
'They told us we were safe'
World Trade Center
As smoke billowed from the first tower workers in the second tower were told to stay put.
A survivor of the World Trade Center attack says office workers were told their building was safe after the first explosion.

Anthony Gould, a Briton who was working on the 95th floor of the south tower, fled the building as soon as the first jet smashed into the north tower.

But he said others heeded the advice being given by fire marshals and officials who were telling people it was perfectly safe to return to their desks.

Several minutes later the second jet smashed into the south tower.

How could anyone have known that the second tower was going to be hit?

Anthony Gould
Instinctive reaction

Mr Gould said he was out of the building within two or three minutes after taking an express elevator to the ground floor, but soon after people began evacuating the south tower the elevators were taken "off-line".

He told BBC News 24: "Nobody knew anything. All people knew was that our tower was OK. I think maybe some people thought if there was debris coming from the first tower the safest place to be was inside.

"How could anyone have known that the second tower was going to be hit?"

I would hope that 60% or 70% of the people who were in tower two would have survived

Anthony Gould
He said: "I was sitting in my office on the 95th floor doing my work at about 8.45am when I heard one of my colleagues scream out 'Look out!' - the kind of thing you might say if you saw a lorry coming towards you.

"I looked up just in time to see the explosion on tower one, which seemed like it was a few floors below my level.

"Immediately it was a reflex to gather as many people as possible and a bunch of us just ran to the elevator."

Mr Gould recalled: "Anyone who stopped to think about it was looking out of the window and thinking 'Well, it hit that tower, it's not going to affect us'.

"I know some people from my company were on about the 61st or 62nd floors when the jet hit the second tower and they made it out fine, so I have to think that anyone below the 60th floor would be OK.

"I would hope that 60% or 70% of the people who were in tower two would have survived."

Trying to cope

Mr Gould said he was coping with his harrowing experience by talking to others who had gone through the same trauma, but he said it took at least 24 hours for the enormity of what had happened to sink in.

He said: "For the first 24 hours I was so unemotionally detached from everything that was going on.

"Every piece of visual information I was just processing.

"I got out of the tower and I spent three-and-a-half hours walking around the city trying to figure out the safest way to get back home, which ended up being across the river.

"During that time I didn't even stop to have a look back at the towers or think about what had happened - I was just so focused on survival."

He said as he left the building he saw many people standing around looking up at what had happened, and it was only after the second explosion occurred that panic set in.

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