Phone log a chilling testament to victims' desperation  

War on terrorism: Firefighters
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The Independent US

A telephone operator's log from the US Fire Department's Emergency Department provides a chilling new testament to the horror endured by thousands who became trapped inside the towers of the World Trade Centre on 11 September after they were struck by two hijacked jets.

The text of the log reflects phone calls made to the department in the minutes after the first plane slammed into the north tower, also known as 1 World Trade Centre. It contains a few abbreviations. It uses "Mc" for male caller, "Fc" for female caller, "Flr" for floor and "Sts" for "states".

The text begins at 08:47 with the simple statement, "Bldg Explosion". Thereafter flows a torrent of panicked calls to the operator as conditions inside the towers turn deadly.

The first call reflects early confusion as to what exactly had happened after the first impact.

08:50:12: Mc Sts Plane Just Flew Into World Trade Centre – Poss Commercial Airplane.

Thereafter, the calls pour in describing conditions of almost unimaginable desperation.

08:56:44: Mc Sts He Is On The 87 Flr – Sts 4 Person There W Him – Sts There Is Fire.

08:57:26: People Screaming In Background – Sts Cannot Breathe – Smoke Coming Thru Door – Floor 103 – Trapped.

09:04:50 Mc – Sts 103 Flr – Can't Get Out – Fire On Flr – People Getting Sick.

A report comes in at this moment from police sources saying people are falling from the building. It is roughly at this point that the second plane hits the south tower, 2 World Trade Centre.

09:07:51 Second Plane Hit The Second Building ... Unc the Extent Of Injuries.

09:09:14 Mc States 2wtc – People Are Jumping Out Of The Side Of A Lrg Hole – Poss No One Catching Them.

09:12:18 Mc Sts On 106 Flr 100 People In Room – Need Directions On How To Stay Alive.

09:17:39 Mc Sts On 105 Flr ... Stairs Collapse

09:36:33 Fc Sts They Are Stuck They Are Stuck In The Elevator ... Sts They Are Dying.

09:47:15 Fc Sts 2 World Trade Centre – Flr105 – Sts Floor Underneath Her – Collapse.

09:49:21 1 World Trade Ctr – 20 People On The Top Waving – They Are Alive Please Send Help.

10:00:34 World Trade Centre Has Collapsed.

Suddenly all calls from that building ended. Calls from the north tower continued.

10:12:35 Mc Sts He Can Barely Breathe ... 105th Flr.

The calls ended at 10.33am (3.33pm BST) as abruptly as they had begun, with a horrifying final note: "Entire Tower Down".

The bodies of 15 firefighters were among those retrieved yesterday from the rubble of the World Trade Centre as workers used heavy equipment to move giant steel beams and large pieces of debris. Officially, 343 firefighters are missing or dead.

The number of confirmed dead rose by 30 yesterday to 344, the largest increase since the first week after the two hijacked jets smashed into the twin towers. Officials identified 289 of the bodies, while 5,219 are listed as missing.

President George Bush is expected today to make his second visit to New York since the attack. He rallied the rescue workers during his first visit on 14 September to the site of the collapsed twin towers, known as ground zero, and plans to go to a local school today to show concern at the effects of the trauma on the city's children.

Rudolph Giuliani, the Mayor of New York, attended a memorial service in Central Park on Monday for employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, a bond firm that lost about 700 employees in the disaster.

Mr Giuliani told the 2,500 mourners gathered under tents for the event that some people would never completely heal from the wound of the terrorist attack.

"You'll need a great deal of support in getting through this," said Mr Giuliani. "So will I, so will many, many people in New York City and around the globe."

The estimated cost of the clean-up and rebuilding has been put at $39bn (£26.5bn).

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