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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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Rick Thornton
Ferry captain

Hudson River, Manhattan

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On the morning of September 11 2001, I was doing what I usually do every morning, taking passengers from New Jersey over to midtown Manhattan.

At approximately 0845 we saw the explosion and saw the smoke erupting from the first tower that had been hit. We saw the second plane hit about 10 minutes later.

We knew right away that it was some kind of co-ordinated terrorist attack.

I immediately turned my boat south and went down to assist our Hoboken ferries that were running straight across to the World Trade Center area.

We saw people in a panic, massed along the entire waterfront. They were jumping into the water. Some of them were swimming out into the middle of the river in a state of shock and panic.

Some of them were covered already in dust and smoke. They had torn off their shirts, waving frantically for some sort of rescue.

Stunned silence

They all seemed to be crushed up against the steel railings that surrounded the piers.

There were children with no parents. There were policemen. There were lots of injured people from falling debris.

There was one lady. She was blind and she had a seeing-eye dog and she had it clutched to her. She had no idea what was going on. Five or six New Yorkers in business suits lifted her up over the steel railing and passed her down to the deck hands standing on the bow of the boat.

We took 400 people out - thatís the capacity of the vessel - and raced across the river at full throttle.

I think it was the second boatload of people we were taking out when the tower collapsed - the first tower.

Up to that point, everyone was screaming and crying and everybody was on their cell phones. And when they saw the tower collapse everybody put down their cell phones and was in this stunned silence. They just stared in shock.

This huge plume of black smoke erupted from the collapsing tower. It blanketed the entire river, you couldnít see anything.

We had to use radar just to find our way across the river.

At the end of the day, the parking lots were still filled with over 100 cars and those were people who would never go home again.

To this day weíre not sure which of the familiar faces either got relocated or lost their job, or lost their lives.

Thatís a bitter-sweet feeling, knowing that we got so many people out - over 160,000 people with our ferry alone.

Itís a very sad thing to carry around with you.


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