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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 22:55 GMT 23:55 UK
Son phoned from skyscraper
World Trade Center
Mr Sword was trapped in the World Trade Center
A banker phoned his family in Scotland from the World Trade Center seconds after a plane crashed into the building, it has emerged.

Derek Sword, 29, from Dundee, 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.

Mr Sword, who was on the 83rd floor of the South Tower, has not been seen since the terrorist attack in New York on Tuesday.

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

Speaking from her home in Dundee, his mother Irene said it was every parents' nightmare and that every time the phone rings she hopes it is good news about her missing son.

Emergency number
For Britons worried about friends and relatives in the US: 020 7008 0000

Mr Sword rang his father, David, from his office seconds after the first airliner flew in to the adjacent tower.

He told his family he was safe because he was not in the tower which had been hit.

Mr Sword also phoned his fiancée to tell her that he had been moved into a secure room.

However, as Mr Sword and his colleagues attempted to evacuate the South Tower, it was hit by a second plane.

His family has not been able to contact him since.

Mrs Sword said: "The first we knew was when Derek rang to say he was fine and told us not to worry. That must have been seconds after the plane went in.

Unidentified people

"That was really it and we have not heard anything else since. We have been watching the television and checking with the Foreign Office but there is no news of him yet."

Mr Sword had worked for a finance firm in New York for the past six years.

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

"His fiancée has told us that there are hundreds of unidentified people in hospitals over there and we are praying that our son is among them.

"Until we hear otherwise, we will go on believing he is OK. But this is just the most harrowing thing and is truly awful."

His fiancée has told us that there are hundreds of unidentified people in hospitals over there and we are praying that our son is among them.

Irene Sword
The Sword family said they feared they might have to wait days before they have confirmation about what has happened to their son.

Mrs Sword added: "This is just something you never, ever imagine that you would have to go through.

"This waiting about just about destroys you. But you have to be positive and that is what we are all trying to do.

"The fact Derek phoned us has given us hope and for his sake we will not give that up for anything.

Terrorist attacks

"We also hope that his fiancée over there will be able to get information quicker than we can over here."

The news of Mr Sword's phone call came as a Downing Street spokesman said the number of British casualties caught up in the terrorist attacks in the US could run into hundreds.

The spokesman said there had been a "massive" number of calls to Scotland Yard's casualty bureau, which is being run on behalf of the Foreign Office.

See also:

12 Sep 01 | Americas
Nato backs US
12 Sep 01 | Business
UK firms assess human costs
12 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Spotlight on 'Special Relationship'
12 Sep 01 | Northern Ireland
Survivors' family die in tragic twist
12 Sep 01 | UK
UK on high security alert
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