Toll of Britons missing and feared dead still rising

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The Independent Online

Slowly but inevitably, the toll of Britons missing and feared dead in the atrocities continued to rise yesterday.

One of the youngest British victims is believed to be Vincent Wells, a 22-year-old insurance broker from Ilford, east London. His parents, Charles and Julia, were too upset to talk about their son, whom they have not heard from since the disaster.

Mr Wells is among the 700 missing employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, and was thought to have been on the 105th floor with colleagues who were trapped after the jets struck.

Andrew Gilbert, 39, and his brother Timothy, 36, both worked in the World Trade Centre. Yesterday, their parents John and Mary, from Ipswich, flew to America. Prayers were said at St Pancras Catholic Church in Ipswich. The priest, Father Francis Leeder, said: "The family are all very much in our thoughts. It is a terrible thing that has happened."

In Swansea, Howard and Val James were still waiting for news of their daughter, Catherine, 37, who worked on the 100th floor. "All we know is that she is still missing," said Mr James. "As you can imagine, it has been an awful time for us."

Matt Campbell, of Hassocks in West Sussex, thought his brother Geoff, whose office was a mile away in Times Square, was safe until he learned that the 31-year-old was at a conference on the 106th floor at the time of the attacks. He said: "I'm hoping Geoff has survived and, suddenly, we'll hear from him. There is no information on him. We're just hoping and praying. Geoff's girlfriend in New York is going round all the hospitals."

The parents of Robert Eaton, 37, said they had been told there was little "realistic" chance he was alive. He is thought to have been at his desk on the 105th floor of the north tower, which was hit first. Doug and Laura Eaton, from Ditchling in Sussex, have not heard from him since. They attended the memorial service on Friday at St Paul's Cathedral, where Robert was once a chorister.

Robert Eaton was employed by Cantor Fitzgerald and had been living in Long Island with his American wife, Jacqui.

Doug Eaton said: "We don't know what happened in detail ...We heard from a friend of Robert who knows the building well and he told us Robert would have been on the 105th floor. He felt there was no chance he could have survived."

Laura, his mother, said she heard of the attack on her radio at home and tried to call him. The line rang three times before going silent. "He was so near the top we know the chances of him being alive were slim. It's terrible to think of him and all those people desperately trying to get out."