9/11: Twin Tower attack eyewitness recalls big ball of fire and admits I was lucky

TikTok user says his dad was saved from 9/11 because he was born

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Today marks the 20 year anniversary of 9/11 where 2,777 innocent victims died in at the hands of 19 al-Qaeda terrorists, who hijacked four planes and conducted suicide attacks against the US. Two planes flew into New York’s iconic World Trade Center, while a third struck Washington, DC’s the Pentagon and another crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Jerry Kehm, a New York-born trader who had returned to the state after nine years in London, gave a first-hand account of the brutal attack.

Mr Kehm told Express.co.uk: “My first day back to work in 2001 was September 11.

“There was a cobalt blue sky, it was a crystal-clear day, and I walked right beneath the North Tower at 8.30am, 15 minutes before it hit.”

A quarter of an hour later Mr Kehm was alerted while in the CME building across the road that a plane had plowed through the tower and that the “World Trade Center is on fire”.

He recalled: “I remember walking to the window and seeing smoke billowing out of the North Tower – it was entrancing, and so surreal.

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“I did not (know it was a terrorist attack) to be perfectly honest.

“I thought ‘I’m going to go downstairs to see what this looks like from there’.

“When I was downstairs I looked up and heard the roar of a plane engine on my right side and as I turned my head the second plane hit the South Tower and exploded into a big ball of fire.

“It was plane parts, paper, but no desks, no big pieces of furniture, just a load of paper flying in the air.

“I can remember the slice mark of the plane made in the North Tower face – the right wing made a very clear cut, like a knife through cake.

“When the second plane hit, I thought ‘holy s**t, this is on purpose.’”

My Kehm admitted in the chaos of the attack he was “lucky” to have come away unscathed.

He said: “I had a friend from the exchange that had a quarterly meeting that day up in the World Trade Centre – they were all killed.

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“They go up there four times a year – that happened to be the quarterly meeting for autumn.

“Another friend of mine was on the eighth (top) floor of Small Building Seven, in a windowless office, and he heard things hitting the ceiling and thought what the hell was that.

“He doesn’t have any news on and when he went outside, he said there were body parts everywhere.

“He remembers a foot, of a young kid, no sock, no shoe, just a foot, perfectly intact laying on the ground – how do you get that image out of your head.

Mr Kehm  revealed, like many others, he fled the area

He said: “ I started to briskly walk north.

“I was maybe in a small state of shock and walking away from it may have helped the healing process – walking away from such a mess.

“There was a plane engine about three blocks from the tower that had landed on a person – they had the street cordoned off with yellow tape, with the person dead underneath the engine.

“A 747-plane engine, laying on the ground in the middle of Manhattan – its nuts!

“I was turning my head every 100m to look back and there were people jumping out of the building at certain moments.

“I would see one or two dark figures falling out and think ‘God, I hope that’s a desk or someone throwing out a jacket’, but I could tell by the way the projectile fell that it was a person.
“I thought, ‘how bad must it be up there if the better alternative is to jump.’

The trader continued his walk with droves of other hapless New Yorkers, and with information sparse and phone lines down, claimed that gossip was rife.

He said: “I walked past Beth Israel hospital, people there were starting to be concerned that [terrorists] were going to start blowing up Jewish hospitals.

“All of sudden people started to worry – are the bridges and tunnels safe.

“When you’re walking across the middle of the 59th Street bridge it’s quite a long way and if some plane comes screaming down and crashes into it you’re screwed.

“I also remember seeing fighter jets in the air, we had air cover, and they were instructed they were going to shoot any airliners that came through.

“Finally, I get far enough north and turn around, and you can see the white cloudy mushroom, and hear the sound of the South Tower falling.

“It was such a mess.”

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