By Josh Gilbert
All of us who were in Manhattan on September 11th have our own harrowing, freakish and scary stories to tell, but of all the stories I heard directly that day, my neighbor Jennifer's story takes the cake: Jennifer was on the 92nd floor of 2 World Trade Center on Tuesday morning. She looked out her window and saw a plane flying low and directly toward the building.
"That plane is flying too low," she said.
No one seemed to notice. "That plane is flying too low," she repeated, adding, "And it's flying right at us."
People started paying attention and watched in mounting horror as the American eagle plane flew close enough to their building for them to read the letters on the side of the plane. Suddenly, at the last moment, it veered and smashed into the tower next to them.
They heard a loud, thundering explosion and heard the whoosh of air sucked in by the vacuum. Smoke and flames shot out all around them outside their windows. Chaos ensued. People started screaming and running toward the stairwell.
People stopped briefly to process the message. It made no sense, but then what did? They'd just seen a commercial jet fly into the World Trade Center after almost crashing straight into their office. Jennifer and her colleague wondered briefly if they should heed the advice of the bullhorn wielding moron when the second plane struck their building.
A gigantic blast of hot air shot up the stairwell with the vacuum created by the blast and the chaos returned in a hellish instant. They turned around and ran up the steps to the 55th floor, which allowed floor access, and ran across a hallway on that floor to a stairwell on the other side of the building where they managed to climb down to safety.
Once on the street, they ran screaming through the smoke and falling debris to the Brooklyn Bridge, where they stopped and turned around in time to see their tower collapse.
"We started screaming again and running North and didn't stop screaming or running until we got home."