500,000 pager messages from 9/11 published

Personal messages sent on the day of the attacks have been posted online

Thet started the day with bagels, coffee, and a boring commute. Then a plane crashed into the World Trade Centre. Several terrifying hours later, thousands were dead, Manhattan had become a disaster zone, and life would never be quite the same.

An archive containing the contents of more than half a million pager messages sent on 11 September 2001 was published yesterday by the internet site Wikileaks. It provided an uncensored and sometimes deeply moving first-hand account of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

The messages were sent by a mixture of frantic emergency personnel, security officials, and people trapped inside the Twin Towers, many of whom used now-obsolete pagers to contact loved ones after the local mobile phone network jammed.

"Please call me I need to know where you are," reads one sent to an office worker around 10am, just over an hour after the attack began. "Don't leave the building. One of the trade towers just fell. Please be careful. Love you – Tiffany," reads another.

They were published by Wikileaks in "real-time" yesterday, starting from 8am and proceeding for the next 24 hours, in an effort to tell the story of 9/11 as it happened. The archive, of 570,000 messages, will in future be stored online.

Alongside computer-generated alerts and news updates from organisations like Bloomberg are tragic personal farewells. "Honey, I want to tell you how much I love you," reads one highlighted by Wikileaks. Immediately following it, the same pager received a financial alert: "Dollar tumbles V Euro and Yen."

The sheer volume of the archive means that it promises to provide an endless resource for conspiracy theorists. Many hope it will provide a "smoking gun" that will prove the theory that US intelligence agencies had advance knowledge of the attacks, which left 3,000 dead.

That remains to be seen. For the first few hours of the day, the transcripts simply show New Yorkers preparing for another day. "Good morning sexy man." reads one. "My boss isn't coming in. Yippee" reads another.

At 8.47am, one minute after the first plane hit, comes the first non-automated reference to the attack. "Someone just told me there was an explosion at wtc... A plane crashed thru the twin towers. Real bad... BR" it reads.

Soon, pager networks are full of panicked eyewitness messages such as "The World Trade Centre has just blown up, we have seen the explosion outside our window."

By the afternoon, some New Yorkers are commenting that "things are getting worse... fear is rampant" others saying: "Bush calls crashes apparent terrorist attack."

No one knows exactly how the messages were obtained. But many reports yesterday speculated that they came from a source inside US intelligence services.

Wikileaks, an anonymous whistleblowing organisation which operates from Sweden, said: "The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its revelation will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event and its tragic consequences."

Personal alerts: How New York reacted by text

* Not sure if you will get this. I've been trying to call. We've been ordered to evacuate our building. I'm going home and I'm fine. love k

* Are you coming home early? I'm really freaked

* Are you OK? Mom and Dad said you had to be evacuated. If you have a two-way pager and can page me back – please do. LOVE YOU!!!!!

* Please tell us you drove. Dad just called me about what is going on in the world, very scary!

* Dear Jason, I need for you to let me know if you are okay. I can't reach you by phone so please email me. I Love You, Momn Don't let Wu get on the plane today, highjacked planes just crashed into the White House and Pentagon.

* Pete is ok, he can't find his brother who works in the world financial centre next to the trade centre. Your mom wants you to go home. Call me

* Huns, both twin towers have collapsed due to the crashes and a car bomb... This is horrible!

* My dad's office (aka. Pentagon) just had an explosion. Still have yet to hear from him. My mom is frantic and I've had tons of people in my office!

* Please tell me you're ok... I'm sure you are but I need to hear it from you.

Source: Wikileaks

Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
stoptober... when the patch, gum and cold turkey had all faied
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Year 4 Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to work in ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?