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Monday, 17 September, 2001, 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK
'We watched our son die'
Graham Berkeley
Graham Berkeley was on a hijacked plane
A British couple unwittingly witnessed the moment their son died in one of the hijacked plane attacks on New York's World Trade Center.

Graham Berkeley, who lived in Boston, Massachusetts, was en route to a computer software conference in Los Angeles when his flight was hijacked.

The 37-year-old's parents, Charles and Pauline Berkeley from Shrewsbury, watched events unfold on TV unaware that their son was a passenger on the United Airlines flight which ploughed into the south tower.

Mr Berkeley said: "I had just come home and watched it on television.

"I saw the plane as it collided with the building, but we did not realise our son was on board."

We can only begin to imagine what he and the other passengers went through on that plane

Christopher Berkeley
Victim's brother

Mr and Mrs Berkeley did not learn of their son's death for more than eight hours, during which time they tried in vain to contact him by phone and e-mail.

They finally received a call from United Airlines in which they learned what happened.

"When they told us Graham was on the plane, we were just stunned. We had watched our child die, unaware," said Mr Berkeley.

Mr Berkeley said the family would launch a scholarship at the Royal College of Music in memory of their son.

Graham Berkeley studied music before becoming an IT consultant and settling in the US five years ago.

His brother, Christopher, said the family planned to attend a memorial service for Graham and other victims of the attacks in New York next month.

"Graham was a pacifist, but we know he would not have stood by and let people get hurt on that flight.

"We can only begin to imagine what he and the other passengers went through on that plane."

See also:

16 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Britain 'at war with terrorism'
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