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    Massive rescue effort underway as volunteers offer help

    Associated Press

    NEW YORK, Sept. 11 -- As night fell, New York City moved past the nightmarish scenes of people on fire jumping from buildings and braced itself for more pain -- picking through the rubble for the dead and the injured.

    Crews began heading into ground zero of the terrorist attack to search for survivors and recover bodies. The downtown area was cordoned off and a huge rescue effort was under way. Gov. George Pataki mobilized the National Guard to help, and hundreds of volunteers and medical workers converged on triage centers, offering services and blood. One man caught under the rubble used his cell phone to reach family in Pennsylvania with a plea for help.

    "She received a call from him saying he was still trapped under the World Trade Center. He gave specific directions and said he was there along with two New York City sergeants," said Brian Jones, 911 coordinator in Allgeheny County. He would not give their names, but said the message was passed to New York authorities.

    Paramedics waiting to be sent into the rubble were told that "once the smoke clears, it's going to be massive bodies," according to Brian Stark, an ex-Navy paramedic who volunteered to help. He said the paramedics had been told that "hundreds of police and firefighters are missing" from the ranks of those sent in to respond to the initial crash.

    "I hope we get patients," said medical student Eddie Campbell, who rushed to help at one of the centers.

    "But they're not coming out. They're in there," he said, pointing down the street to where the World Trade Center once stood.

    Emergency Medical Service worker Louis Garcia said initial reports indicated that bodies were buried beneath the two feet of soot on streets around the twin towers. Garcia, a 15-year veteran, said bodies "are all over the place."

    Eight hours after the catastrophe began, hundreds of firefighters sat on the West Side Highway or leaned against their rigs, waiting for orders to go into the leveled skyscrapers and search for what they feared would be hundreds of bodies - including many colleagues.

    "This is going to hurt," said Jack Gerber, a 43-year-old Brooklyn firefighter. "A lot of guys got killed today."

    He said that after the first building collapsed, surviving firefighters passed cell phones around to tell their loved ones they were alive.

    Barbara Kalvig hurried with a car full of colleagues from the New York Veterinarians Hospital to lend a hand at a triage center opened up by the city's Board of Health.

    "We closed the hospital and brought a bunch of doctors and nurses," Kalvig said. "We just drove as far as we could."

    Hundreds of volunteers with medical, military or nursing experience formed ad-hoc crews to accept blood donations and take care of minor injuries as truckloads of medical supplies flooded in.

    Nearby, a construction crew hauled plywood to the emergency teams to be used as makeshift stretchers for rescue crews.

    Craig Senzon, 29, a neurologist volunteering at the triage center said the experience was horrific.

    "We felt a heaviness inside use that none of us have ever felt before," Senzon said. Hundreds were taken to hospitals, nursing homes and triage centers. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said some 1,500 "walking wounded" were at a mobile hospital in New Jersey's Liberty State Park, near the Statue of Liberty.

    A few blocks away from the World Trade Center, about 120 doctors and people with medical training traveled in a convoy of pickup trucks, ambulances, a dump truck and SUVs toward the wreckage. Their job: To find survivors and try to save them. Among them was Andrew Gray, a 26-year-old New Yorker with rescue worker experience. Gray had been told he'd be helping burn victims.

    Gray, like many others, simply left his apartment after the blasts, looking to see how he could help. "I left my apartment with no idea what I was going to do," he said. "It's shocking to think that human life is so cheap to these people."

    Nila Perez, 37, who was waiting to donate blood at the triage center after being evacuated earlier in the day from Wall Street, said: "I was going to walk home, but I felt like I had to do something."

    Rescuers describe gruesome scene
    Rescuers picking through the rubble are telling gruesome stories of finding body parts and dead victims. A National Guard member, Angelo Otchy of Maplewood, NJ, said he was searching the rubble at One World Trade Center. He said he must have come across body parts by the thousands. Otchy also said some rescues were made, adding that he had come across a lady covered in blood who couldn't remember her name. Otchy said he had to leave the area, overcome with emotion. He sat on a curb near the West Side Highway, his head drooping, looking for a cigarette.

    President George W. Bush told the nation that thousands of people were killed in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Bush said that "thousands of lives were suddenly ended" in the terrorist attacks.

    One fire official said as many as 200 firefighters are feared dead. Mike Carter, vice president of the firefighters union, said that more than half of the 400 firefighters who first reached the scene are missing.

    New York Cardinal Edward Egan, who administered last rites to at least a dozen victims, said the firefighters and police were "dead in great numbers." Police department and union sources said 78 police officers were missing. But Assistant Chief Tom Fahey said the number is not that high.

    Emergency Medical Service worker Louis Garcia said that initial reports indicated that bodies were buried beneath the two feet of soot on streets around the Trade Center.

    (© 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    Fires still burn, rescue teams enter the Pentagon

    WASHINGTON, September 11 - Urban search and rescue teams from Fairfax County in Virginia and Montgomery County in Maryland were finally allowed to enter the Pentagon, Tuesday evening. One official called the attack a full assault on United States of America.

    Almost 12 hours after the hijacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon, fires continue to burn in parts of the building.

    It is unknown how many dozens of people have perished inside or whether there are any survivors still trapped inside the massive building.

    The scene was horrific. The Pentagon had already activated a crisis team in response to the World Trade Center attack when a hijacked American Airlines 757 plowed into one of the sides of the building.

    The Pentagon, the very image of national security was burning with a gaping hole in the middle of one of its five sides. The plane carrying 58 passengers and six crewmembers penetrated three of the five rings of hallways that formed the Pentagon’s unique structure.

    Witnesses described seeing an enormous fireball followed by heavy black smoke rising into the sky. “And I looked over to the side and I saw this jet coming in and it was really low and it was an American Airlines jet. You could read the AA on the side with the silver fuselage and it kind of disappeared over the embankment for a moment and then a huge explosion, flames flying in the air and kayos on the road,” said Mike Walter, a witness to the crash.

    The plane struck a portion of the pentagon that had recently been renovated. One construction worker that News4 spoke with was still inside doing work. “I’m up in the sixth corridor and the next thing you know, all of a sudden this big explosion, looked like one of those movies and two trash cans came flying by me followed by smoke,” said Henry Moody.

    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was in his Pentagon Office at the time of the attack. Officials said he helped some victims to stretchers before he headed to the secure National Military Command Center in another part of the Pentagon.

    Department of Defense spokesman, Rear Admiral Craig Quigley said the massive evacuation of about 23,000 employees was remarkably calm. “The building was very quickly evacuated, people were sent as far away from the building as possible. Many, many people were sent home.”

    Once outside however shocked staffers began to cry and to shake. The inured were placed on stretchers and taken away by ambulance and helicopter. Many had suffered cuts and severe burns.

    Debris, including a chunk of the plane was scattered across the Pentagon grounds. Assistant Secretary of Defense, Torie Clarke spoke late Tuesday afternoon. “This is a terrible day, it is a tragic day for America. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families and the casualties. We’re taking every step and precaution to prevent further attacks. We’re making every effort to take care of the injured still in the building and we’re taking every appropriate measure to determine who is responsible.”

    As the fires raged a portion of the Pentagon collapsed. Flames continued to spread throughout the day, even as firefighters continued to pour water on the structure.

    Pentagon officials refused to estimate how many have died inside. John Jester of the Defense Protective Service said, “What we’re trying to do now is get information about where people were and in what office areas so we can assist the fire department.

    Survivors describe horror inside the World Trade Center

    Associated Press

    (New York-AP) -- Survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center are painting a graphic picture of today's mayhem high over New York City.

    One man says he was getting off the elevator on the 92nd floor of one tower when the first plane hit the other building.

    He says it "was mass hysteria, people were screaming."

    On the way down the stairs, he stopped and looked out a window to see "blood spots" on the pavement far below from people falling to their doom.

    That's when the second plane hit his building. He says the "whole building moved and it was swaying back and forth."

    Another woman says she knew "it was time to leave" when she saw flames jetting out of the first tower hit.

    (© 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    Patients, blood donors stream to Manhattan hospitals

    Associated Press

    NEW YORK, Sept. 11 -- Victims of the World Trade Center attacks streamed to hospitals Tuesday as officials in the city and surrounding states called in every available surgeon and nurse. Hundreds of blood donors rushed to help, even overwhelming blood centers across the country in Louisiana.

    Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said at least 2,100 people had been injured, 600 of them taken to hospitals by mid-afternoon. Hospitals said those numbers would rise in the hours to come.

    Some 1,500 "walking wounded" were taken across New York Harbor to New Jersey's Liberty State Park, Giuliani said. Dozens of ambulances had raced to the park, near the Statue of Liberty.

    Officials at the trauma centers closest to the Trade Center -- St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center -- said the relatively low numbers of victims they had seen were only temporary. They said had received only people who were injured outside the Trade Center towers, and that the number would likely rise dramatically once rescue workers started digging into the rubble.

    "It's a catastrophe of unparalleled proportions," said Bellevue medical director Eric Manheimer.

    Amid the early rush to get the wounded to treatment, St. Vincent's and Bellevue hospitals counted only four dead. A triage area was set up at Penn Station in Newark to evaluate some of the hundreds of injured people taken across the Hudson River, most by ferries.

    One man with burns was taken to the Jersey City Medical Center by Steve Newman. He was on Manhattan's West Side Highway, riding a livery cab to work, when he saw the man blown out of the lobby of one of the Trade Center towers.

    "I took him and said 'We've got to get him to a hospital,' and the only way to the hospital was across that river," Newman said. He got the man onto a water taxi.

    The Navy sent ships to New York and Washington that included surgical teams and limited hospital bed capacity. They included the aircraft carriers John F. Kennedy and George Washington.

    Hundreds of blood donors lined up outside Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, and the line of donors at St. Vincent's wrapped around the block.

    "It's a crisis. You must help. There's nothing else to do," 19-year-old donor Jessica McBlath said at St. Vincent's.

    New York Blood Center officials said they were running low on O-negative blood. It can be given to any patient, but only 5 percent of people have it to donate.

    The American Red Cross did not call for emergency blood donations, saying it had 50,000 units ready to ship to New York if needed. However, it urged blood donors throughout the country to keep any appointments they have this week to give blood.

    Donors in Washington lined up for two- to three-hour waits at Washington Hospital Center, including Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. "Since I can give blood, this is one of the ways I can be helpful," McCarrick said.

    As far away as Louisiana, blood centers had trouble keeping up with donors. "The lines go out the door and we've filled other rooms," said Gayle Landrum, public relations manager of The Blood Center in New Orleans.

    "I just want to do my share," Kathy Gesslein said in Alexandria, La.

    The federal Health and Human Services Department activated a national medical emergency system in an unprecedented move that would dispatch roughly 7,000 volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical staff to the scenes of the attacks.

    In Nashville, Vanderbilt University Medical Center spokesman Clinton Colmenares said the American Burn Association had asked if the center could take burn or trauma victims from the attacks. He said nearly every hospital in the country was asked the same question.

    Hospitals in Connecticut said they were prepared to accept patients, and in New Jersey ambulances were massed at the George Washington Bridge and elsewhere to await assignment.

    (© 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • #2
    In rememberance.