9/11 20 years on: Chesterfield man’s daughter saw hijacked plane fly into World Trade Centre
Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a Chesterfield man has recalled how his daughter saw a plane hijacked by terrorists fly into one of the Twin Towers in New York.
For four desperate hours, Bernard Jones – a former photographer with the Derbyshire Times – waited to hear if daughter Caroline was safe as the disaster unfolded on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Caroline was on the second day of a business trip to New York when she heard the first plane crash into one of the Twin Towers from her hotel.
She rushed outside just as another plane smashed into the south tower.
Bernard said: “They were just about to go out on Tuesday morning when she saw this flash and heard an almighty bang.
“She thought it was a freak plane accident and actually took pictures of it.
“Then she saw the second plane fly into the tower and it was absolute mayhem.
“She said she had never been so scared in her life.”
As Bernard watched the tragedy on TV, he finally received a call from Caroline to let him know she was OK.
He said: “Obviously we were pleased when we heard she was OK – but our blood ran cold when we realised how close she was.”
In less than two hours, both 110-storey towers collapsed in massive clouds of dust.
A third hijacked plane destroyed the western face of the Pentagon – the giant headquarters of the US military just outside the nation’s capital, Washington DC.
And a fourth jet crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back. It is thought the hijackers had meant to attack the Capitol Building in Washington DC.
In all, 2,977 people – not counting the 19 hijackers – lost their lives that day, most of them in New York.
The attacks were planned by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The disaster remains one of the most traumatic events of the century, not only for Americans but also for people across the world.
New York is once again the brash and bustling city it always was – but 9/11 will always be there casting its shadow over the place that never sleeps.