A French businessman remembers when he survived the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
Bruno Dellinger, speaking ahead of the 20th anniversary of the disaster, said his office was on the 47th floor of the North Tower.
Arriving early on September 11, 2001, he remembers the moments before the first plane hit the building at 8:46 a.m. local time.
“We lived in the sky of the World Trade Center, in immense silence, unlike the rest of the city. I was contemplating the view, “he told Euronews.” Two of my employees arrived and I was checking my emails when all of a sudden I heard the screeching noise of the reactors, a noise strange that was beyond comprehension. ”Then there was the immediate impact on the facade where my office was located, twenty stories above.
“I experienced firsthand the collapsing facades, the rocking building in a very, very disturbing way. (…) You could feel that you were on the verge of breaking up. It went on for a very long time, two, three minutes, “Dellinger added.
Despite the fact that he didn’t see a plane right away, the businessman immediately thought of one.
Not wanting to panic, he first stayed in his office before realizing he had to leave.
“I passed by a group of people who were taking a different staircase from the one I had taken, they died,” he added. “My descent lasted 50 minutes, but I got out. It was very complicated in the appalling heat. (…) I could have died on 50 different occasions that day. If I had left ten seconds later, I would indeed be dead.
Once in the street and in a state of shock, Dellinger witnesses the collapse of the towers, before a gigantic cloud of dust engulfs him.
He recalls this experience as particularly traumatic, saying that “in a matter of seconds everything became darker than night” and “there was no noise”.
“Overwhelmed by the elements, my body thought it was dead. All of these things: noise, lights, sound, breathing – these are things we don’t need to learn, we’ve known them from birth.
“But when they are challenged by the force of events, the body, the mind no longer understand.”
Distressed and terrified, the businessman waited three months before finding the courage to return to the scene of the attack.
“Rebuilding myself was a complicated process because I was a ball of pain. Psychologically, I was dead.
“When I walked down the street and saw a sign of life, like the sun shining, I was like, ‘It’s not possible because you’re dead.’ Like I had a fuse blown in my head. The signs of life started to reappear a month, two months later: nonsense like tasting a good tomato for example, “he said.
Now back to work, the businessman has written a book, “World Trade Center, 47th Floor,” recounting his traumatic experience. Twenty years later, he’s still examining the difficult process of coming to terms with what happened.
Watch the full interview in the player above.