Cargo Business News

September 2011

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19 McIntyre described her dramatic flight to safety with ew York's World Trade Center. By Alison Bate Tower Started To Collapse Their ordeal still wasn't over. Claire was helping Georgia to- ward an ambulance when the neighboring south tower started to collapse. Shortly after 9 A.M., as smoke still poured from the north tower, a second hijacked plane slammed into the south tower, sending up a huge fireball. All 65 people on board died when United Airlines flight 175, also a Boeing 767, hit the tower. As it began collapsing around 10 a.m., Claire, Georgia and Steve started to run up the block. "We thought, 'We made it down 91 flights of stairs and now we're going to die,'" said Claire. Just as they realized they were safe from debris, a huge cloud of dust came at them, reaching them halfway up the block. "We were in total blackness and couldn't breathe at all." Claire and Georgia held on together, feeling their way up the street, and pulling their shirts over their faces for protection. Gradually the dust cloud less- ened, and they ran into the Chase Bank, next to the Millennium Hil- ton Hotel. They stayed for about 15 minutes until the air cleared enough to go outside. As they walked toward Broad- way, their faces covered with dust, they met a TV crew and gave a phone interview about their es- cape. Claire also called her sister and ABS office headquarters in Hous- ton, Texas to let everyone know they were safe. "It was very emotional, of course," said Claire. ABS has held offices in the World Trade Center for about 10 years, but downsized when the corporate headquarters moved to Texas two years ago. The New York office normally staffs 22 people, but only 11 em- ployees were actually in the of- fice that day. Miraculously, all escaped. Fiancé In Second Tower Throughout the ordeal, Claire feared for the safety of her fian- cé Danny Franco, an elevator mechanic working in the south tower. "We both thought each other was dead," she recalled. Cell phones weren't working well, and it was 11:30 a.m. be- fore Claire could leave a mes- sage for him. It was another hour before they learned they had both survived. She heard Danny was having coffee on the 44th floor of the THE 91st FLOOR south tower when the first plane hit her building. He saw a fireball come out of the building, and had made it to the lobby when the second plane hit his building - just 20 minutes later. Later that day, Claire went to her brother's house on Long Is- land. The roads were closed so she stayed there overnight. It was Wednesday evening be- fore she got to go home to Union Township, New Jersey to be re- united with Danny. Since then, Claire's been crying a lot. "I feel up and down, but I am fine," she said. Claire and Danny also have practical matters to deal with. Both lost their cars, which were parked at the World Trade Center, and are dealing with insurance issues. "We're trying to get our lives back in order," she added. Up to 6,000 people went miss- ing that day when the two towers collapsed. As Claire observed: "God blessed us. It was a miracle all around." September 2011 S REPRINT FROM THE OCTOBER 2001 ISSUE OF MARINE DIGEST

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