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Eyewitness Accounts Of Disaster in New York City

Aired September 11, 2001 - 13:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Washington, D.C. -- than you Matt -- they have declared a state of emergency. Do we have a guest there, or -- ? OK.

Washington has declared -- Washington, D.C. -- a state of emergency. I believe I was just told that the Space Needle in Seattle has been closed down. Is that correct? Did I hear you guys?

There are a couple of points that we might make there. Back in the year 2000, just before new year's eve, coming into Washington state a man was stopped with explosives, and as it turned out, that was part of a planned terrorist attack, and it caused the city of Seattle to shut down what had been an enormously elaborate millennium celebration. They are very much on edge in Seattle. We were just there last week, and it's not surprising to me that they would shut that building down.

Luis Marcos is an official with New York City hospitals, and she joins us -- he, I'm sorry. He joins us now.

Can you hear me OK?

DR. LUIS MARCOS, DIR., NYC HEALTH & HOSPITAL CORP.: Yes, yes I can hear you OK.

BROWN: I apologize for the stuttered introduction. Tell me the situation in the hospitals.

MARCOS: Well, in Bellevue Hospital, which is the largest public hospital in the city, and is relatively near the incident, we have as of now received approximately 125, 30 patients. Two are dead, unfortunately. Some have brain injuries, very serious fractures, and we are now getting more patients from other hospitals that need microsurgery or implantation of limbs and plastic surgery. So it is a rather overwhelming situation here.

BROWN: Mr. Marcos?

MARCOS: Yes?

BROWN: Mr. Marcos, you were outside of the buildings in that period between the planes hitting and the buildings collapsing. Can you tell me what you saw. MARCOS: Well, as president of the public hospitals, I was asked immediately, within seconds, to join the crisis assistance unit, which is located across the street from the World Trade Center. So I drove there and as I was parking, a huge piece of rock hit the back of the car, broke the windshield where I was sitting. So I am very lucky to be alive.

Then when I went to the center, the center was evacuated because they were afraid that a second plane may be coming. I joined the fire commissioner and then I needed to use the telephone, because telephones were not working. I went into, I think, American Express building, and as I was there, one of the buildings collapsed. We were unable to leave that building.

And thanks to a very brave police officer, who was able to find an exit, we are here today.

BROWN: Mr. Marcos, we heard reports that people were jumping out of the buildings. Did you see that?

MARCOS: Unfortunately, I saw about five people jumping from up the building. I can tell you there is no other -- I've never had such an overwhelming and terrible experience in my life, though I have been in this job for a long time and have seen lot of things. It is something that is very hard to describe.

But at the same time I have to say that the fire department, the police department, they were all there. They were so brave, all those men and women, that I feel that thanks to them, many people were saved.

WILLIAM RODRIGUEZ (PH), WORLD TRADE CENTER EMPLOYEE: Can I interrupt there for a second? When I was coming down, just as I left the building, there was still firemen inside of the building, on those floors that I mentioned before, on the 34, 38, 39, and 27th floor. And they -- I'm 100 percent sure that they didn't make it.

And the officer that told me to get out with the group that was taking the person on the gurney, was an officer from the Port Authority Police, officer Liem (ph). I know he didn't make it, because as I came out of the building, I saw a lot of bodies on the floor. I saw a lady encrusted on the floor, that was probably one of the person that jumped from the building, if he jumped from the building. But it was like he melted on the floor, that's how bad he was.

As I came out of the building, we hear the rumbling and I was told, run. When I look up, everything is coming down. And I start running as fast as I could, and we all jumped on the one of the fire trucks, right on time, because everything just came right on top of us. We could have been crushed, because the truck was coming down on us.

And all of a sudden, it stopped. And we were pulled out from under the truck. But I know these officers didn't make it. BROWN: Mr. Marcos, Mr. Rodriguez (sic), thank you for your extraordinary descriptions of what was going on in and around the buildings. Excuse me, around 9:00 this morning, a little bit before 9:00, and a little after 9:00 here in New York.

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