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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
British families fear the worst
Nigel Thompson
Broker Nigel Thompson is among the missing Britons
Friends and relatives of Britons missing following the terrorist attacks in the United States now fear the worst for their loved ones.

More than 48 hours after the four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field near Pittsburgh, hopes are fading of finding survivors in the rubble.

We are bracing ourselves for the inevitable

Mark Thompson

Downing Street has warned the final toll for UK victims could reach the middle hundreds and almost 5,000 people still remain unaccounted for, New York's Mayor, Rudolph Guiliani has said.

At home in the UK all friends and family can do is wait for news.

Norman Thompson
Norman Thompson hopes his son may still be found alive
Norman Thompson's 33-year-old son Nigel, who is a broker in New York, has been missing since Tuesday's attacks.

Speaking from his Sheffield home, Mr Thompson told the BBC: "We have been living in hope that he would still be alive and that we would find him buried and alive or unconscious not able to identify himself in hospital.

"But that all seems to be going slowly now away."

He has been making his own appeals on the internet.

But his older son Mark said it would be a "miracle" if Nigel was found alive.

Nigel was among around 1,000 employees of stockbroker Cantor Fitzgerald at the World Trade Center.

Mark Thompson said: "He is still classed as missing but because he works on the 105th floor and because no names have been coming out of Cantor Fitzgerald as survivors, we are bracing ourselves for the inevitable."

Call home

The family of banker Derek Sword, are among those still waiting for news.

Missing Derek Sword
Derek Sword called home from the World Trade Center
Mr Sword, phoned his family in Dundee in Scotland from the World Trade Center seconds after a plane crashed into the building - but has not been heard from since.

The 29-year-old, who was on the 89th floor of the South Tower, told his father that it was not his tower that had been hit - just moments before a second plane crashed into the New York skyscraper.

His fiancée is in the city checking hospital admission lists in an attempt to find him.

His mother Irene said: "It is so, so difficult for us. We feel helpless and are just hoping that he is safe and well".

Financial institutions, who say they have staff missing include London-based Cantor-Fitzgerald, its recently spun-off subsidiary eSpeed, and Risk Waters.

London-based company Risk Waters has issued a helpline number for relatives seeking information - 020 7484 9815.

Worried friends and relatives can phone a special telephone helpline on 0207 008 0000.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"As allies to America, the UK is not immune to risk"

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See also:

12 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair warns of British victims
12 Sep 01 | UK
UK on high security alert
12 Sep 01 | Business
Sombre mood in the City
11 Sep 01 | Scotland
Rescuers on US stand-by
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair condemns terrorist 'evil'
11 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair's statement in full
11 Sep 01 | UK
UK buildings evacuated
11 Sep 01 | Americas
Could the planes have been stopped?
13 Sep 01 | Scotland
Missing son phoned from skyscraper
13 Sep 01 | Americas
New York mourns its missing
13 Sep 01 | Business
UK firms fear human losses
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