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BBC NEWS September 11, one year on
Judy Keen
USA Today reporter
Rob Bach
US pilot
Lord Robertson
Nato Secretary General
Michael Farri
Fire captain, Pentagon
Tony Blair
UK Prime Minister
Zohra Tahiri
Teacher, Kabul
Dr Zaki Badawi
British Muslim cleric
Condoleezza Rice
US national security adviser
Lisa Lefler
Worked in World Trade Center
Howard Lutnick
Chief executive, Cantor Fitzgerald
Rick Thornton
Ferry captain, New York
Sarar Hareth Ibrahimi
Baghdad resident
Katie Hochbaum
15-year-old schoolgirl, New York
Faten Elwan
Palestinian, Ramallah
Mikhal El-Yeshiv
Teacher, Jerusalem
Orshum Parks
New mother, New York

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Rob Bach
Pilot for US airline

Los Angeles, California

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I was at Los Angeles international airport on a flight which would eventually end up in New York’s JFK airport that day.

We received some news, just before departure, that an aeroplane had hit the World Trade towers. At the time we didn’t know what kind of aeroplane that was. We thought it may cause us some delay but decided we should best get out of LA and on our way.

We received clearance for take-off from the tower. About half way through the take-off, the tower came back and asked us to stop the take-off and we did.

It was a fairly unusual thing to happen at LA. When I asked the controller what the nature of the problem was, she said there was a stop to all destinations from Los Angeles.

We then taxied back to the terminal and that’s when we received word from our company that it was an airliner that had hit the World Trade towers and that our security situation was not green, or not good.

Stay very close

Immediately our concern was for the crew and passengers, to secure the passengers, to get them off the aeroplane safely into the terminal.

The crew and I were taken away from the terminal. They took us back to the hotels where we’d started from. On the way to our hotel we learned the details of that morning.

At the hotel that we were to stay at for the next four days there were 27 crew members. We all decided to band together, to stay very close, to share information between us.

We had four days to digest what had happened. My crew and I stayed very close communication-wise. We talked about what we would do if we were in that position, or what should we do if anything happened on our first flight after the event.

We were one of the first aeroplanes to leave LA, bound for Chicago which was our home base.

Felt very personal

Unfortunately I was only home for 24 hours before I had to turn around and go back out again to LA and relive the whole trip as it should have been.

We ended up in New York, landing at JFK as we should have a week earlier.

It was difficult to fly over Ground Zero, to see smoke, to see the extent of the damage, to keep your emotions in check.

Pilots are trained to set those emotions aside. We have a job to do. We are trained in a crisis.

We focus on what needs to be dealt with, to subjugate whatever you feel and focus on the task in hand

But the magnitude of what had happened - it felt very personal to us. It felt like a very personal attack to people in our family.


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