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‘We will be brothers for life’: businessman who escaped from the Twin Towers on September 11 saved life by fleeing his office

Of all the September 11th survivor stories, one of the most incredible, belongs to two men: Brian Clark, a Canadian businessman whose office was hit by one of the planes, and Stanley Praimnath, the man whose life he saved .

At September 11, 2001, Mr. Clark worked on the 84th floor of the World Trade Center‘s South Tower. At 9:03 am, Flight 175 struck floors 77 through 85 of the building, with Mr. Clark’s office atop the impact area.

“Our room was just shaken up, just destroyed in a second,” Mr Clark told the Associated Press ten years after. “And that was the 10 seconds after that immediate impact – those were the only 10 seconds of the day that I was afraid. Terrified, actually.

There were three stairs in front of Mr. Clark. On impulse, he began to descend the A staircase. He had no idea that it was the only staircase that had not been destroyed.

On the 81st floor, a woman walking up the stairs stopped Mr. Clark and the colleagues who had followed him. She told them to turn back, as she had seen fire and debris below. Her advice was to head for the roof, where she hoped a helicopter would rescue them.

The woman walked upstairs and Mr. Clark’s group remained in the stairwell, discussing what to do. Then Mr. Clark heard a sound.

“I was distracted by a clicking noise inside the 81st floor, and I struggled to listen to what I thought was a voice,” he said. noted. “‘Help! Help! I’m buried! Is there anyone there? I can’t breathe!’”

Mr. Clark left the group and walked over to the voice. Amidst the debris, he saw a hand coming out of a hole in a wall, waving up and down. Mr. Clark aimed his flashlight in the hole and saw two eyes staring at him.

It was Stanley praimnath, a Fuji Bank employee who saw Flight 175 approaching and hid under his desk just before impact. Miraculously, the desk protected him as his desk collapsed.

Flight 175 explodes on impact with the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001

(Getty Images)

Now Mr. Praimnath was stuck behind a wall. Mr. Clark grabbed his hands and pulled. After several tries, he managed to push it over.

Mr. Praimnath was overwhelmed with gratitude.

“He gave me a big kiss,” Mr. Clark later recalled, laughing uncomfortably. “I said, ‘Uh, I’m Brian’. He said, ‘I’m Stanley! We will be brothers for life! ‘”

The two men headed for the stairs. By this time, the rest of Mr. Clark’s party had gone upstairs, hoping for a rescue that never came. None of them would survive.

Mr. Clark and Mr. Praimnath headed the other way, starting the long, 80-story journey down. Eventually, they encountered smoldering debris, but were able to move it aside.

At 9.55 am, they finally reached the ground floor. As they left the building, a firefighter told them to run as debris fell on the street. They followed his instructions.

When they were a few blocks away, Mr. Praimnath looked behind them.

“He said, ‘You know, I think this building might collapse,'” Mr. Clark recalls. “And I said, ‘There’s no way! It’s a steel structure… ‘”

Before he could finish his sentence, the south tower began to collapse. Although they did not know it at the time, Mr. Clark and Mr. Praimnath had escaped just four minutes before the collapse. Of all the people on the upper floors where Flight 175 crashed, only four survived. Mr. Clark and Mr. Praimnath are two of them.

Years later, Mr. Clark still cannot explain why he is alive.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of unanswered questions: why me? Why not someone else? Why them? he said PA. “I received a gift. I take no credit for it. I’m just lucky.

Smoke hangs over Manhattan after the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001

(PA)


The Independent Gt