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Saturday, 15 September, 2001, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Man escapes tower 'fireball'
Hijacked planes were crashed into World Trade Center
Jimmy Loughran: Fireballs rained from the sky
A Northern Ireland man has spoken of his lucky escape after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York on Tuesday.

Jimmy Loughran, an electrician from Kildress in County Tyrone, was working in the 34th floor of the North Tower when the hijacked plane struck.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph newspaper, he described bodies lying all around as he fled the building.

"The whole building began to sway about six of seven feet each way. It was like being rocked around in a boat," he said.

"Everybody froze, we didn't know what had happened. Then there was a massive explosion, it must have been the fuel from the plane exploding after the initial impact.

"Once we saw all the debris falling down the outside of the building - a huge shower of glass and metal - we began running to the stairs," said Mr Loughran.

"Really frightened"

The Tyrone man made his was through the dust, smoke and debris and eventually made it to street level.

Outside the doors he saw the first body, a delivery man with the packages still in his hands.

World Trade Centre on fire
Hijacked planes crashed into World Trade Center
"I just froze. About 15 feet away I could see another body. It was then that I started to get really frightened."

"I was just standing there staring out through the glass doors at these bodies as huge fireballs fell from the sky. It was unbelievable, I've never been so scared.

"I was going to make a run for it, but just as I opened the doors the second aeroplane hit the other tower. There was another massive explosion and the whole building shook again violently."

Mr Loughran made a run for it to the shelter of another building and the just kept on running.

"I never looked up or back, I just kept going."

Thousands missing

New York authorities say there are more than 4,700 people still missing after the Manhattan terrorist attacks.

Search for survivors continues in New York
Search for survivors continues in New York
It is believed that many members of the emergency services perished while attending the scene.

Some financial firms have hundreds of employees unaccounted for.

The British Government has confirmed that up to 100 Britons have been killed but there are fears that figure could rise five-fold.

Four Irish people have been confirmed dead but the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said it expects that to rise into double figures.

The Foreign Office emergency number for British people worried about friends and relatives is: 020 7008 0000.

The Dublin Department of Foreign Affairs emergency number is: 00 353 1 408 2000.

See also:

13 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Families fear loved ones dead
14 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
NI mourns terror attack victims
13 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Belfast paramedic recalls US terror
12 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Survivors' family die in tragic twist
14 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Belfast mosque attacked as fears rise
15 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Search for victims continues
14 Sep 01 | Americas
Nations grieve for US terror victims
14 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair pledges action against terror
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