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Posted: 9/14/2001 9:01:24 AM EDT
This was on another list I belong to. It speaks for itself. Joe Folks, I just arrived home at 10:30pm and feel like sharing a little of my week. I was to start three days of single day trips out of Syracuse on tuesday morning. I left my crash-pad in syracuse at 4:45 am Tuesday morning and looked up at the heavens to see one of the absolute clearest skys that I have seen in the northeast in years. The stars were so bright that it really made an impression. I drove to the airport and got ready for my 6:15 am departure for Baltimore. Since I had been on vacation for 10 days I checked everything a least twice. My first officer for the month, Paul Pryor, and I have flown togeather many times before and we joked about what we would to to keep us awake on such a beautiful day. I flew the first leg to Baltimore and joked with Paul that after my flawless landing that he would get all the rest for the week as I didn't want to jeprodize my perfect string. We left for New York's LaGuardia at 8:15 am and proceeded up the coast with absolute glee with the visability almost unlimited and air traffic control giving us every short-cut available with out a single request from us. We were 20 miles south of Robbinsville, NJ about 50 miles south of LaGuardia when I decidied to get the arrivial information. While I was copying the info Paul remarked that there was a large smoke flume over the city. I glanced at my dme and noted that we were 16.1 miles from Robbinsville and it was 8:55 am. I remarked to Paul that the smoke could be coming from one of the aux generating plants that NYC has to provide power to the city in case of a power loss or high demand days. He got my attention when he said "look Bob the World Trade Center seems to be on fire." About that time approach control told is to desend to four thousand feet and switch to the next approach frequency. I switched and waited a moment to call in when another aircraft asked, "approach, Whats going on?" the controller responded "un-officially an aircraft has collided with the World Trade Towers". Paul and I looked at each other in shock because by now we were with-in 30 miles of Laguardia heading straight at the towers and from the size of the smoke pflume we knew it was not a small plane that had hit the tower. We had tuned WABC into our ADF and were listening to the morning hosts say that there were reports of an aircraft hitting tower #1. when I caught a reflection of light from the north side of the complex and then the whole side of tower #2 blew out as we passed alongside the southeast side of the building. We were within a mile of the tower and 3,000 feet above it when the second plane hit it.
Link Posted: 9/14/2001 9:02:54 AM EDT
I saw the second half of the attack on NY City. I turned to Paul and said " Paul that was not an accident. That was a terriorist attack. I think we should consider landing somewhere else. You have the airplane and radio 1 while I call the company." As I called the company Paul tapped my arm and told me we were being directed to land at LaGuardia. With-in 5 min of our arrivial the airport was shut down and with-in 30 min the terminal was ordered evacuated. Our director of operations asked me to gather up all of our crews now numbering 7 and keep them togeather and to call my wife as he had just called her to see if I had a cell phone. I was able to call Cornelia and she answered on the first ring. I tried several times later in the morning but couldn't get through so when my First officer's Dad called him Paul asked that he call my family to tell them that I was allright and would call later to let them know where we were going to be.We all walked over to the hotel that we stay in when we overnight there hoping that they might still have some rooms. They did all 2 of them. Six of us volunteered to travel into Manhatten to lend assistance in any way we could but were thanked for our offer but told that even though they appreciated the offer they couldn't get us there as all bridges and tunnels were shut down. The police sargent who was talking to us was crying as he had a brother who was on scene when the Towers collapsed. About 2 in the afternoon I was able to find a rental van and got permission from the company to take four of the crews back to Syracuse. Just thought I would share this with all of you, I'm not sure why, I guess I just need to talk about it. I was right there, saw it happen and couldn't do a damn thing to help. As we drove across the Throgs Neck Bridge leaving Queens for the north side Long Island Sound we could see the large hole that was carved out of the New York skyline. I've spent the last two days sitting around Syracuse waiting to go back down to pick-up out aircraft and have had a lot of time to watch the TV coverage. We should have seen this coming, the signs were all there but we just didn't want to believe that it could happen to us. I wish I could be part of the retrobution that is to come, but I'm too old now to be recalled, but that dosen't damped my desire. The most terrible act I can imaging has be perpetrated on this country and is only the first of what I fear is many more to come. God bless us all. Bob O bokeefe@westol.com
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