Parnevik feared for life as planes struck

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The Independent Online

Jesper Parnevik said he feared for his life as the two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Centre on Tuesday less than a mile from where he was staying.

The Swede, a wild card selction for the Ryder Cup match, was in Manhattan for a meeting with the golf clothing designer Johan Lindeberg in the Plaza Hotel when the first aircraft struck.

"The first hit we didn't hear because of the thick walls in the hotel," he said. "But then we heard from reception what had happened. Because the Plaza is a very well-known building we thought they might go for us so we had to get out of there."

Leaving his belongings, Parnevik ran from the lobby just as the second plane hit.

"It was absolutely terrible," he said. "We were just running and waiting for the next hit. Of course you are afraid. I was thinking about my family and what might happen next."

Parnevik headed north towards Central Park, where he and Lindeberg sheltered with crowds in the shadow of low buildings for seven hours before returning through thick smoke to the hotel. He is due to take part in the World Championship in St Louis, which begins tomorrow, a day late.