WTC 911 Emergency
Calls To Be Released

By David Usborne in New York
The Independent - UK

Families of the victims of the twin towers tragedy in New York almost two years ago were bracing themselves last night for the release of emergency calls made from inside the buildings in the minutes before they collapsed.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the owner of the towers, was ordered by a court to release transcripts of calls made to the emergency services and the port authority police by people in the buildings, many of them the authority's own workers.
While a few of the families welcomed the move, others strenuously objected. They argued that seeing the words of desperation of their loved ones who became trapped by fires and blocked stairwells will bring back the pain and anguish that they have been trying to overcome for two years.
The release of the transcripts comes two weeks before the second anniversary of the tragedy at the World Trade Centre complex, in which 2,792 people died. Some families are threatening to boycott ceremonies planned for 11 September because they object to the reconstruction plans, under which buildings would overlap the footprints of the destroyed towers.
The port authority had decided to renege on an earlier agreement with The New York Times to release the transcripts because of concern for the privacy of the families. But last week a judge in New Jersey ordered that they must be made public before the close of the business day yesterday.
On Monday, the port authority said it would comply with the court order. But it appealed to the media to use restraint in their use of the transcripts and to resist the temptation to publish some of the passages, which have been described as especially gruelling.
Catherine Pavelec, the port authority's manager of administration and protocol and a survivor of the attacks, said the tapes gave "a very real sense of how many people needed help and how short a period of time we had to help them".
The largest section of the tapes are calls for help to the port authority police, most of them by port authority officials. Many had entered the buildings to help after the towers were hit by two hijacked commercial airliners.
Fire fed by aviation fuel stopped rescue teams saving workers trapped on the higher floors of the buildings.
The voices of 36 people have been identified, either because they gave their names or colleagues at the port authority recognised them. They include 19 port authority police officers, 14 civilian port authority workers and three people who did not work for the agency.




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