Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Thu, 02/25/2016 - 15:54.









By Satinder P. S. Puri, ~ Member, ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers),
a former resident of New York City, and since 2001, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio.
Note: The following paper was initially published in the ASCE Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, Volume 8, No. 4, November 1994. Reproduced by permission.
On February 26, 1993, a bomb explosion rocked the World Trade Center complex in New York City--killing six, injuring over one thousand people, casting tens of thousands into a life-threatening situation, and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. This paper is a personal account of what happened to eight people who, unaware of the catastrophe, found themselves trapped in a smoke-filled express elevator for over three hours. The elevator was located in One World Trade Center, one of the two 110-story-tall towers in the complex. The paper describes the circumstances that brought the eight people together, the emergence of a leader and the efforts he marshaled to assure survival of the group in the hostile environment, and the events following the rescue, and provides a follow- up of how the explosion affected the lives of some occupants in the following days. The account emphasizes the human-interest aspects of the event and is not meant to be an objective or a technical report.


FIG. 1. Twin Towers of the World Trade Center as seen from foot of Brooklyn Bridge (One WTC, with Television Antenna, is in Center, and Woolworth Building is to right)


FIG. 2. Floor Plan of One World Trade Center. The figure shows that the towers are square in plan with 207 ft & 2 in (63.14 m) sides with chamfered corners. Each floor is divided in to four quadrants: NE, NW, SW, and SE. My cubicle was located on the 72nd floor in the NE quadrant. The elevators and stairs are located in the interior Core. For efficient operation of elevators, the building is divided into vertical zones with local and express elevators. See the figure for additional information.

FIG. 3. Close-up of One World Trade Center as seen from Church Street showing Chamfered Corners and Lightly Shaded Bands representing Mechanical-Equip- ment Rooms

FIG. 4. Base of One World Trade Center and Austin J. Tobin Plaza as seen from Church Street (Some Sculptures can Be Seen in Background).

Fritz Koenig’s Sculpture in the Austin J. Tubin Plaza.
Titled “Sphere for Plaza Fountain”, the 25 ft. high, 45,000 pound metal sculpture was installed in 1968. Note: The sculpture survived the bombing of 1993 and the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.

Lunch on Friday, February 26, 1993, was the usual routine--munching on carrots and celery sticks in my cubicle in the northwest quadrant on the 72nd floor of One World Trade Center (WTC)--one of the two 110-story- tall towers in the complex, located in New York City.

As I dipped into the plastic bag that my wife had packed the night before, my thoughts were elsewhere.

I was trying to decide whether I should go out and buy a modem to connect my personal computer to an on-line information service. The neighborhood computer store had a sale on a 14,400 bit per second modem that came with a free Prodigy kit.

The outdoors did not look so inviting--it was a dull, dreary looking day, the kind that makes one want to continue with one's work and forget about the external world.

After some hesitation, 1 finally decided to go out. I hurried through lunch, made a photocopy of the ad--folded it up, put on my down jacket, made sure I had retrieved my wallet from the locked cabinet, took a pencil, and I was on my way to the computer store.

I thought I would stop by the drug store on the way back and leave a prescription on insulin syringes for Patrick (affectionately known as Paddy-Wack), our big black cuddly cat with a white nose, chin, breast, belly, and feet, who is diabetic. My wife (late Sarah Clingain Puri, passed away in 2014) had asked me to make sure I did not forget the syringes, so when I had left for work that morning, I had the prescription in my jacket.
I took the local elevator from the 72nd floor to the sky-lobby on the 44th floor (see Fig. 2). The towers have sky-lobbies at the 44th and 78th floors -- directly above the mechanical-equipment rooms (see ref. Feld 1971). The mechanical-equipment rooms, with louvers, show up as slightly shaded bands in the otherwise monochromic facades of the twin towers (see Fig. 3).
After I reached the 44th floor, I changed to express elevator 10A -- the second elevator from the west end, the side nearest to the escalators leading to the Port Authority cafeteria on the 43rd floor (see Fig. 2).

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, also known as the Port Authority, or the PA, owns and operates the World Trade Center complex. The express elevators, with doors on both sides for easy entry and exit, had been recently refur- bished with new wall and ceiling panels. At the 44th floor, entry/exit for elevator 10A is made through the north door, and at the concourse, or ground, level; entry/exit is made through the south door. The express elevators are oversized--nearly 7 ft by 12 ft (2.13 m by 3.66 m)--with a design capacity of 10,000 lb (4,540 kg), more like those used in parking garages for moving cars, and can hold up to 55 passengers (see ref. Feld 1971).

After the doors closed, the elevator accelerated and started the downward descent. It suddenly stopped at the 26th floor, nearly 300 ft (91 m) above the concourse level. However, the elevator lights remained on. This was the first time I had such an experience during seven years of working at One WTC. As a commuter from Queens, I was more used to experiencing subways stopping suddenly and jolting the passengers.

However, the sudden stop did not throw us off balance and we did not hear anything suspicious. There was an immediate concern expressed at being trapped. Somebody said, "Oh my God, what do we do?" There were eight passengers in the elevator--it so happened that in some way they were all connected with the Port Authority.

The first reaction, of those near the two doors was to start ringing the alarm bells. A short while later, which seemed like a minute or two after the elevator had stopped, smoke started to come in. We thought the smoke was coming from the burning of electrical wires. After all it was not unusual for subway cars to suddenly fill with smoke resulting from electrical mal-functioning-without any fire load in the cars.

I estimated that the elevator had stopped around 12:20 p.m. Robert Vasquez, a PA contract worker with a maintenance service, asked all of us to lie down on the floor facing downwards. He also suggested that we cover our mouths with handkerchiefs or tissues. Since all of us did not have hankies, or tissues, those who had an extra one gave it to one of the others passengers.

The initial ringing of the alarms was intermittent. After hearing no response--some of us took turns at keeping our fingers on the buttons--the alarms were ringing continuously. While most of us were on the floor, Robert managed to open both elevator doors to provide an outlet for the smoke. With the help of Christopher Danyo, he stepped on the handrails and after some effort was able to pull down part of the ceiling panel in the northwest corner of the elevator to provide additional ventilation. The ceilings in the express elevators are nearly 10 ft (3 m) high. Robert also made attempts to locate the ceiling hatch. Earlier, he had identified the number of the car.

Soon, the elevator car was filled with dense smoke and visibility was almost zero. The lights in the elevator were still on. With no response to the continuous ringing of the alarm bells, something we could not understand, we started crying for help--first singly and then in unison.
“Help! Help! Help!”

“Please help us!”

“Anybody out there? Please help us! We are trapped in car 10A!”

These cries were repeated frequently for the next 40 minutes.

A mood of desperation had set in. Robert was not successful in locating the ceiling hatch. He decided we should attempt to break through the shaft walls. He was aware they were of dry wall construction and attached to vertical metal studs.

At first we tried brute force. Two or three of the passengers who were physically well framed, gave the wall along the north side a few good kicks. The wall did not seem to budge one bit. The kicks could not continue because the heavy smoke interfered with breathing, and those who had helped were soon back on the floor.

However, Robert would not give up.

He started scraping the north side elevator shaft dry wall with his keys. This was the side where we had entered the elevator at the 44th floor. Realizing that he was making very little progress, he asked if any of us had a knife or some other instrument to work with. Fortunately Ann Georgas, who works with the PA Law Department, had a pair of scissors. With this additional tool, Robert resumed his digging. A few of us tried to help but were overcome by smoke.

With the alarm bells ringing, and cries for help not producing any response, and with no let up to the smoke, some individuals got emotional and started blaming their bad luck. The rest of us tried to calm them down. After a little while, the passengers started to talk with each other. This was not like a normal conversation among eight individuals sitting around a table sipping wine.

There were seven of us flat on the floor with our mouths covered with hankies or tissues and Robert who was sitting up - slowly chipping away.

The conversation was not continuous-it was intermittent. Frequently it was punctuated by Robert's cries for help. Sometimes, he would ask all of us to keep quiet. He thought he heard someone on the other side trying to reach us.

He would shout at the top of his voice, which by now had gone hoarse, trying to establish contact:

“Anybody out there?

Please help us! We are in car 10A!”

This refrain was repeated many times over. Robert had emerged as the leader of the group. Not only was he knowledgeable about elevators, about the construction of the elevator shafts, but he also knew about the basics of survival in a life-threatening situation.

Christopher Danyo, a resident of New Jersey, had just returned from a job interview with the PA Police Department for the position of a police officer. We all wished him good luck in his endeavors.

Ann Georgas had taken the elevator to meet her husband who was waiting in the lobby at the concourse level. She was concerned with what was going on in his mind since she failed to show up at the appointed time.

Phil Devlin, a PA employee, had just retired after 26 years of service at the Holland Tunnel. He had come to pick up his last paycheck. His wife, Marge, had accompanied him on this trip. They were on their way down to meet the limousine for the trip home. He told us about his retirement party. Someone teased him that he had worked for the PA just one day too many.

Peter Geraghty and Mike Rybeck, both PA employees, were the seventh and eighth passengers in the elevator. Peter is with PA's Management Planning and Budget Department and Mike is with the Audit Department.

The smoke continued to build up. A few of us, including myself, were coughing a lot. The smoke was accompanied by soot that irritated our throats. Someone offered candy. I was chewing on dry cloves. A colleague at work had suggested chewing cloves to sooth irritated throats. My wife had told me that cloves also functioned as breath fresheners, and those who used them heard fewer complaints from fellow New Yorkers about exhaling garlic fumes in crowded elevators and subways. So I had got into the habit of packing a few cloves in my jacket every day. I offered cloves, with a salesperson's pitch saying they were guaranteed to sooth irritated throats, but there were no takers.

With no response from the outside, most of us had given up. We could not understand why no one was responding to the alarm rings and to our desperate cries for help.

Around 1:00 p.m. there was a period of calm and quiet in the elevator. Maybe we were all reflecting on our impending fate. After all, we had tried our best to communicate with the outside world but without any luck. While I reflected on this feeling of helplessness, it suddenly dawned on me that the smoke we were inhaling despite the irritation it was causing our throats did not appear to make us nauseous. We had survived the first 40 minutes of smoke inhalation without anyone passing out. This realization was the first ray of hope. If the smoke had been toxic, none of us would have survived to tell this story.

I was lying down with my head near the north door. This was also the side where Robert was chipping away at the wall. Shortly after I had realized that our condition was not hopeless, I sensed a sudden whiff of fresh air. I brought this to the attention of the other passengers.

Almost forty-five minutes after we had been trapped, at 1:05 p.m., we received the first communication, over the intercom, from the outside world. The message, a short one, was very faint--and it said that they were coming to get us. This news buoyed our spirits. Slowly the smoke started to clear. Soon we could see.

We thought we were the only ones trapped and could not understand why no one had come to help us. With the smoke clearing and the visibility improving, I asked each passenger to list their name and telephone number on the back of the computer store ad. I volunteered to file a report with the Port Authority that asked why no one had come to our help and that suggested things they should do to assure survival in a smoky elevator.

The indomitable Robert who had been chipping away at the wall, found that the scissors were not doing the job. We decided to break the small metal door under the elevator buttons on the north side, and use it as a chipping tool. After some effort we pried it loose.

The communication had a very calming and reassuring effect on us. The feelings of helplessness and desperation seemed to go away.

Twenty minutes later, around 1:25 p.m., we received another short communication saying they were coming to get us. Attempts by Robert to get word back were not successful.

A few minutes after we received the second communication, the lights went out. It was pitch black and it was very still. Out of the darkness and the cavernous silence came a disembodied voice.

"Your message has been received, please wait a moment!"

While we waited patiently for the rescue team, the recorded voice kept on repeating itself for the next two hours and added to the kafkaesque atmosphere in the elevator.

This voice was our only link to the outside world and it suggested that someone on the other side was not only aware of our plight but through constant repetition wanted to keep on reassuring us.

At first the recording appeared to annoy us. However, as we sat there quietly, waiting in the eerie blackness for help to arrive, it seemed to have a spiritually satisfying effect--very much like a mantra. The next two hours appeared to pass quickly. Most of us were still lying down, a few were sitting up. There was very little conversation. The eerie stillness was punctuated by frequent coughing.

It was Robert who first observed that the elevator had started to move up. He asked us to move away from the elevator doors. I am not sure, but I think he also closed the doors to prevent any mishap. He mentioned that he was successful in finally cutting a small hole in the first layer of the shaft wall.

The ascent was very slow--it seemed to take forever. It felt to me as if a giant crane were slowly pulling us out of a black hole. As we approached the 44th floor, over 200 ft (61 m) above the 26th floor, for the first time, in three hours, we heard voices on the other side. The elevator shook a bit. There was some commotion. We could not make out what the people outside were saying. Robert remarked that they were trying to level the elevator, and he made sure the doors were closed. A short while later, the elevator stopped, the doors opened, and the eight of us stepped out. We were greeted by uniformed firefighters, a number with oxygen tanks on their backs, who asked if we were all right. I was so stunned by the experience that the rescue evoked neither feelings of joy, relief, nor anything else.

Except for some lights that the firefighters were carrying, the sky-lobby on the 44th floor was pitch black. For the first time, I realized that we were not the only ones who could have been trapped in the elevators. When I asked a firefighter what happened, he said there was an explosion in the basement so big that it formed a huge crater. He did not have any more details.

A firefighter led us to the PA cafeteria that occupies the south side of the 43rd floor. We were taken to the southeast quadrant. The floors of the WTC towers are 207 ft 2 in. by 207 ft 2 in. (63.14 m by 63.14 m) and are divided into four quadrants (see Fig. 2).

Unless one is familiar with a floor, one has to look outside the windows to establish one's bearings. This quadrant, on the south side, overlooks the Vista/Marriott Hotel (part of the WTC complex), Two WTC, lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano- Narrows Bridge; on the east side, one can see the Austin J. Tobin Plaza (part of the WTC complex shown in Fig. 4), Church Street, Brooklyn Bridge, the Woolworth Building (see Fig. 1), and other landmarks.

I checked my watch-- we arrived at the cafeteria around 3:35 p.m.--so we were trapped for over three hours in the elevator.

The cafeteria looked untidy. The tables were littered with trays of unfinished food and drinks. Firefighters were all around. Some of them were administering oxygen.

Only one or two, out of our group of eight, inhaled some oxygen. I heard a firefighter remark that they had walked up from the concourse level to the 44th floor with oxygen tanks on their backs. We were asked to help ourselves to soft drinks.

With the help of natural light from outside, I could see how we looked after our ordeal. All our clothes were covered with soot from the smoke. Also, there were black patches around our mouths--probably an impression from the soot on the elevator floors, I thought. We looked more like people with faces made up for a masquerade.

One of the firefighters was trying to round up our group. After we were together, he said we would have to walk down the stairs. He would lead the way, and since the stairs were dark and they had limited lights, we would have to stay together. Of course, Robert was there to see that his group followed instructions.

Suddenly there was a lot of commotion. The firefighters had brought up an express elevator on the east side of the 44th floor, at the opposite end from elevator 10A (see Fig. 2). This elevator, as we found later, was closer to the center of the explosion.

When they opened the doors, they saw about 10 people on the floor. The firefighters thought they were dead. Fortunately they had survived. It appeared that they had taken in a lot of smoke. But worse, one of the individuals had developed a heart condition and a PA doctor, who was in the cafeteria, ordered a large area to be cleared.

Two or three husky firefighters responded immediately. Instead of carrying the chairs and tables over to one side, they lifted them like firewood and threw them with the ease of discus throwers, creating a pile in the southeast of WTC's corners, which are chamfered (see Figs. 2 and 3).

Within a minute or two, the area was cleared. I was at first revolted at the way the furniture had been handled--it could have been moved in a gentle manner. But considering the way we had behaved in elevator 10A, tearing down a ceiling panel, kicking the shaft walls, and pulling apart the metal panel door, maybe in such situations brute force is the only way to respond in emergencies.

Robert asked if any one of us wanted to call home. So Ann Georgas and I went with him. He borrowed a firefighter's light. On the way we passed the stairs and I recognized Eugene Fasullo, Pramod Khanna, Frank Lombardi, Vincent Miller, Dominick Montalbano, and Peter Rinaldi--all from the Engineering Department--coming out of the stairway, their faces covered with soot.

Later I got a firsthand account from Pramod Khanna how their group, under the leadership of Mr. Fasullo, escaped from a trapped elevator by cutting through the shaft walls using keys. Eugene Fasullo is the PA's Chief Engineer and the Director of the Engineering Department.

Though the lights were out, fortunately the phones were working. I had to borrow a quarter from Robert to make the call. My wife was relieved to hear from me. She had been trying to call me at the office. She was getting the news from the radio stations and from the one and only television station that was in operation.

Most of the television stations in New York City use the antenna on top of One WTC to broadcast (see Fig. 1) and were understandably out of operation. I told her I was fine and would be home soon.

We started our descent from the 44th floor to the ground floor, a vertical distance of over 500 ft (152 m) around 4:00 p.m. A firefighter and Robert, who was holding the light, led the way. There were eight of us plus the people from Eugene Fasullo's group plus a group from the other elevator. We walked down slowly because of the darkness of the stairwell. We stopped a few times along the way to rest. At one floor we saw evidence of broken windows.

We were let out onto the plaza level, which we reached in about 25 minutes I exited the towers on the Austin J. Tobin Plaza side--the one with the big fountain and three huge permanent sculptures (see Fig. 4). On the way, I exchanged notes with Promod Khanna on how we had managed to survive the ordeal. Both of us thanked God, and I also thanked Robert.

There were a few ambulances on Church Street. There were not too many people around. I saw a reporter interviewing one person. I looked back at the twin towers (see Fig. 3)--they were still there, resolute as ever, undaunted by the explosion and unmoved by all the suffering that their inhabitants had endured.

I took the subway and reached home around 6:00 p.m. My wife was relieved to see me. Our cats, including Patrick (Paddy-Wack), as usual ran to greet me but ignored my bedraggled appearance. I took a good look at myself in the mirror. I looked like a coal miner emerging after a day in the pit. I packed my clothes including my turban (a 15 ft. (5m) long wrapped colored muslin headdress worn by Sikhs) in plastic bags because the stench of the soot was over-powering. I took a shower and washed my long-hair. I gargled several times to sooth the irritated throat.

I rested on Saturday and Sunday, and also on Monday. I experienced lightheadedness several times. For the next two weeks, I did not sleep very well--on several occasions I would wake up during the night. But there were no nightmares to add to the trauma. The soot had left a very bad taste in my mouth. The bad taste as well as the irritated throat took about four weeks to heal, but heal they did.

I reported for work on Tuesday, March 2, 1993. Because of the new security regulations, I had to stand in line for over two hours before I got a pass to enter One WTC. At the concourse level, access to the Vista/Marriott Hotel from the south side and to the World Financial Center from the north side was blocked, and the airline ticket counters occupying the southwest quadrant were deserted. There were several broken windows on the west side-- the side facing West Street.

In lieu of office workers; police officers; fire- fighters; security guards; and officials from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms could be seen all around. I had to wait in line to get on the elevators, since only one or two elevators were operational.

I was finally able to get back to my office on the 72nd floor to retrieve some files and make arrangements to transfer our computer equipment to another location.

On the way, I saw the effects of the smoke. The stench was pervasive and literally everything was covered with soot: floors, desks, files, computer equipment, furniture, walls, and ceilings. Nothing was spared. It was as if the smoke from the explosion, in its wake, left its stamp on everything.

I returned again to One WTC on Wednesday, March 3, 1993 to retrieve more files. Repair work was in progress at the concourse level. Workers had started to board up the broken windows.

I met Ivan Ramirez and Chitta Saha from the Engineering Department's Quality Assurance Division. They were checking the integrity of the marble panels and their connections along the core walls located above the concourse level (see Fig. 2).

The walls are over 50 ft (15.25 m) high along the north and south vertical faces. Ivan Ramirez and Chitta Saha used a motor-operated metal platform, rigged with cables to the ceiling above, to move up and down the walls. The platform was similar to those used by window-washing contractors.

The concourse level was bustling with tenants who were evacuating their possessions. They were pulling and pushing carts, dollies, and even regular office chairs with wheels, all piled high with cardboard boxes and computer equipment--a scene reminiscent of an airport in its bustle. I moved my files to the Port Authority's Technical Center in Jersey City, N.J.

For the next two weeks, I worked out of Jersey City. Then I moved to the third floor of what used to be a department store at the WTC complex. I made a few more trips, accompanied by colleagues, to the 72nd floor to retrieve our computer equipment, user's manuals, and more files. Because of the heightened security, prior permission was required to arrange a trip.

On these trips, we were accompanied by a floor coordinator with a walkie-talkie who was in touch with the command center. The trips were usually limited to 20 minutes because of frequent bomb threats. Sometimes the trips were delayed for hours for the same reason. However, the trips resumed after the building was checked and declared safe.

There was a frantic nature to these trips--we wanted to get out as soon as possible. We came rolling dollies, carts, or chairs with wheels. Once we reached our floors, we raced toward our cubicles, retrieved books, files, and equipment; piled them high onto our moving devices; and rushed out. The floor coordinators made a point of reminding us to hurry up.

During these trips I used express elevator 10A a few times. The ceiling panel was back in place--nobody could tell it had ever been pulled down. The carpet was dark with soot and the acrid smell of the smoke had not yet dissipated. The metal panel door had not yet been replaced. It was hard to believe that where dollies stood now, a few weeks before eight terrified people covered the floor, struggling for their survival in the smoke-filled air.

A large portion of the Engineering Department was working out of the former department store. Some groups that could not be accommodated were working out of other locations. The Engineering Department returned to One WTC on April 6, 1993. I was with another group that remained at the department store location to complete an urgent assignment. I finally moved back on April 15, 1993. Everything looked spick-and-span. Fresh flowers were everywhere and the atmosphere was spring-like.

The first time I saw Robert was after I had moved to the former department store, he was standing near the security checking X-ray equipment, dressed in his company's uniform. He was some distance away from me and I did not get a chance to talk with him. I met him again a few days later. This time he was wheeling a dolly. I gave him a hug and told him how much we owed our survival to him. He told me that because of the closing of the World Trade Center, he could not work and had lost two weeks pay. Despite this, he looked his cheery self, but now I knew, ready to take control of a life-threatening situation.

I also met Ann Georgas after we returned to One WTC. She said she still often thought about the experience in the elevator. She said that one of the individuals from our group--whether Peter Gerghaty or Michael Rybeck, I cannot now recall who lives near her house and that she had established contact with him. I mentioned I was working on the report and would send her a copy. I told her I had spoken to Robert and that her scissors had been a big help. She said she never got them back; they had fallen down the shaft.

I have always had a lot of affection for the World Trade Center and admiration for its unique features. As a graduate student at the University of Illinois and later, I read reports on its design and construction (see ref. "The World" 1971) and other aspects (see ref. Ratcliff 1969). I was fascinated with its many unique features: the use of slurry-wall construction for the foundations (Kapp 1969), the perimeter framed tube for resisting wind loads and the floor trusses to assure column free areas (Feld 1971), the chamfered corners for preventing vortex excitation, and the viscoelastic damping units for reducing wind-induced oscillations ("Dampers" 1971).

When I started work ing in New York City, in 1968, I visited one of the towers when it was under construction. I had a picture taken in a hard hat, at an upper floor. Seeing me in a different headgear tickled the folks back home. Later, I worked for Skilling, Helle, Christiansen, Robertson--the structural engineers of the complex.

In 1986, I started working for its owners, the Port Authority, with a special feeling of pride.

I have talked with many people--family, friends, professional colleagues, and others about our life-threatening experience. I have had a chance to address audiences, in brief, about our ordeal--first at the ASCE Metro politan Section Computer Group's Fifth Annual Civil Engineering Computer Presentation (March 24, 1993, New York City), and second at a technical session at ASCE's Structures Congress (April 19-21, 1993, Irvine, Calif.). I have also talked with members of ASCE's Technical Council on Forensic Engineering at their meeting in Chicago (April 3-4, 1993).

While the experience was of such an intensity that it will forever stay fresh in my memory, I found that talking helped relieve much of the post-traumatic stress.

Writing this account has also been very good therapy.

The Port Authority has done an excellent job in bringing things back to normal. Someone who was not involved with the disaster would never know it took place.

Each time I ride elevator 10A, and it whizzes by the 26th floor, I see it as a triumph of technology in the control of the good over the forces of evil.

Many years from now, if asked what I did during the time the World Trade Center was bombed, I guess I could look back and echo the sentiments of the French citizen who, when asked what he did during the French Revolution, simply said, "I survived."

This paper is the outcome of a. report submitted by the author to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The report included suggestions about educating tenants in life-threatening situations. Since the suggestions were for the Port Authority, they have not been included in this paper. The author thanks Kenneth L. Carper, Washington State University, and Narbey Khachaturian, University of Illinois, for their encouragement in submitting this paper.

While emphasizing the human side, this account is not meant to be an objective or a technical report on the events. The views expressed are the author's and not those of the other seven individuals in the elevator, nor those of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.


"Dampers blunt the wind's force on tall buildings." (1971). Architectural Record, September, 155-158.

Feld, L. S. (1971). "Superstructure for 1,350-ft World Trade Center," Civil Engineering.ASCE, 41(7), 66-70.
Kapp, M. S. (1969). "Slurry-trench construction for basement wall of World Trade Center." Civil Engineering, ASCE, 39(4), 36-40.

Ratcliff, J. D. (1969). "Greatest skyscraper of them all." Readers' Digest, July, 217-221.

"The World Trade Center--its planning, finance, design and construction as re- ported through the weeks for more than a decade." (1971). Engineering News- Record, Special Issue.
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Canary in a Coal Mine

Thank you Mr. Puri - when will folks listen to you.  Your ability to see, where others fail to see, could save us.