world trade center

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On September 11, 2001, 2753 people were killed when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. While we all remember those who were lost or injured, The Survivors Club would also like to take a minute to celebrate those who survived. From one man who survived by a floor, to a couple who both survived that day, we honor those who miraculously made it out of the incredible disaster alive.

The Survivor Couple

Sujo John was working in World Trade Center Tower 1 when American Airlines Flight 11 tore through his building. That he managed to escape with his life is miracle enough – but his wife, who was pregnant at the time of the time, also survived the WTC attack.

His story was reported in the Christian Broadcasting Network website.

Just as John began his day, on the 81st floor of World Trade Center, Tower 1, he heard a loud explosion. During his nearly one hour descent from the 81st floor, another explosion rocked the building. John had no idea a second plane had just flown into Tower 2, where his wife, Mary worked.

What John did not know was that Mary arrived at Tower 2 just moments after the second jet crashed into it -- she was never allowed to enter the building. Mary told CBN, "I saw it, I was standing right under the buildings, I felt the heat, and the debris falling all around me."

When John and thousands of others finally made it to the lowest level of Tower 1, Tower 2 began to collapse, forcing John to stand against the wall and huddle with about 20 other people. When the building crashed down, John thought he had been buried alive as he pulled himself up. Everyone he had just stood with had died.

Miraculously, a flashing red light from a crushed ambulance directed John and another man to safety. “I'm thinking for sure my wife is dead, how am I going to find her,” he said. Somehow she was able to reach him on his cell phone, and John describes “picking up the phone seeing my wife's caller ID and I'm thinking it's not her, someone else has gotten a hold of her phone to reach me with the news, hey your wife is dead. It was an incredible moment [to find out] that my wife is alive."

Surviving by a Floor

George Sleigh, a British-born naval architect, was on the phone in his 91st floor office when he heard the roar of jet engines. Looking out his window, he saw an American Airlines Boeing 767 hurtling toward him at 500 mph, loaded with 92 people and 15,000 gallons of jet fuel.

The jet exploded into the 93rd through 98th floors of the World Trade Center's north tower on 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.

USA Today reports, the walls, the ceiling and bookshelves crumbled. Sleigh, 63, crawled from the rubble.

He looked up at exposed steel beams and the concrete underside of the 92nd floor. He didn't know it at the time, but that concrete floor was the bottom of a tomb for more than 1,300 people. Nobody survived on the floors above him. But on his floor and below, an amazing story unfolded: Nearly everyone lived.

The line between life and death that morning was as straight as a steel beam. Everyone on the 92nd floor died. Everyone on the 91st floor lived. When a second jet hit the south tower 16 1/2 minutes later, the pattern was virtually the same. In each tower, 99% of the occupants below the crash survived. At the impact area and above, survival was limited to just a handful of people in the south tower who made an amazing escape.

Nearly everyone's fate inside the two 110-story towers was sealed the moment the jets hit. In the north tower, American Airlines Flight 11 struck the 93rd through 98th floors and wrecked the stairwells on the 92nd floor. At the crash and above, 1,360 people died; none survived. Below the crash line, 72 died and more than 4,000 survived. Floors could not be determined for two people who died in the north tower.

In the south tower, United Airlines Flight 175 struck the 78th through 84th floors. The higher wing cut into the offices of Euro Brokers, a financial trading firm. The fuselage tore into Fuji Bank offices on the 79th through 82nd floors.

The World Trade Center was only half-full when the first jet struck at 8:46 a.m, and company head counts showed that many desks were empty at 8:46 a.m. Sleigh was truly one of the lucky ones who escaped.

The Last Survivor

Genelle Guzman-McMillan dead has often wondered how and why she survived that tragic day on 2001. Nearly everyone else who had not left the Twin Towers by 10:28 a.m. on Sept. 11 perished.

Genelle worked for the Port Authority on the 64th floor of the north tower, reports Time, and could have left earlier—but she waited, fearful and uncertain like so many others. She was still walking down stairway B when the building collapsed. Unlike so many others, she lived.

New York City's medical examiners are still trying to identify 19,858 pieces smashed from the bodies of the 2,819 people who were slain. Somehow, Genelle's tumbling body found an air pocket under mounds of rubble. She was buried for more than 26 hours, and on Sept. 12, around 12:30 p.m., she became the last of just four people caught in the debris to be found alive.

People in close proximity to Genele were killed. It's not known whether anyone else could have been found alive—just that Genelle was the last. Was this luck? Was it the hand of God? All we may ever know is that she is a true survivor and her story is one of the many miracles of that day.

The 16 Miracle Survivors

The amazing story of a bookkeeper, an office temp, an engineer, a Port Authority cop, and twelve firemen who survived, despite having the World Trade Center collapse on top of them, was a much talked about miracle. A New York Magazine article from 2003 reports, "sixteen people survived inside the collapse of the World Trade Center, and they were all in Stairwell B of the North Tower, in the center of the building."

Those who survived what others did not were located between floors 22 and 1. The History Channel aired The Miracle of Stairwell B in 2006, which showed "the growing sense of confusion as the scene grew more chaotic" for these survivors. Following the journey up and down endless, hot flights of stairs. the race against time to shepherd each other out of the tower, the shocking sound of the floors hitting each other as the building fell on top of them, and the harrowing wait for help beneath the mountain of rubble. The most incredible is of course, "the ray of sunshine that pierced the despair and showed them the way to safety."
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