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. CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: This just in. You are
looking at obviously a very disturbing live shot there. That
is the World Trade Center, and have unconfirmed reports this
morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the
World Trade Center.
CNN Center right now is just
beginning to work on this story, obviously calling our sources
and trying to figure out exactly what happened. But clearly,
something relatively devastating happening this morning there
on the south end of the island Manhattan.
once again, a picture of one of the towers of the World Trade
VINCE CELLINI, CNN ANCHOR: We could see these
pictures. It's obviously something devastating that has
happened. And again, there are unconfirmed reports that a
plane has crashed into one of the towers there. We are
efforting more information on the subject as it becomes
available to you.
LIN: Right now we've got Sean
Murtagh -- he is a CNN producer -- on the telephone.
Sean, what can you tell us what about you know?
SEAN MURTAGH, CNN PRODUCER: This is Sean Murtagh. I
just was standing on the vice president of the vice president
of finance for CNN.
CELLINI: Shaun, we're on the air
right now. What you can tell us about the situation?
CELLINI: Yes, Sean, you are on
the air right now. Go ahead. What you can tell us?
MURTAGH: I just witnessed a plane that appeared to be
cruising at slightly lower-than-normal altitude over New York
City, and it appears to have crashed into -- I don't know
which tower it is -- but it hit directly in the middle of one
of the World Trade Center towers.
LIN: Sean, what kind
of plane was it? Was it a small plane, a jet?
It was a jet. It looked like a two-engine jet, maybe a 737.
LIN: You are talking about a large passenger
MURTAGH: A large passenger commercial
LIN: Where were you when you saw
MURTAGH: I am on the 21st floor of 5 Penn
LIN: Did it appear that the plane was having any
MURTAGH: Yes, it did. It was
teetering back and forth, wingtip to wingtip, and it looks
like it crashed into, probably, 20 stories from the top of the
World Trade Center, maybe the 80th to 85th floor. There is
smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.
Sean, what happened next? Does it appear to you that the plane
is still inside the World Trade Center?
my angle -- I'm viewing south towards the Statue of Liberty
and the World Trade Center. It looks like it has embedded in
the building. I can't see, from my vantage point whether it
has come out the other side.
CELLINI: Sean, what about
on the ground or any debris that has hit down
MURTAGH: My vantage point is too far from the
World Trade Center to make any determination of that.
LIN: Did you see any smoke, any flames coming out of
engines of that plane?
MURTAGH: No, I did not. The
plane just was coming in low, and the wingtips tilted back and
forth, and it flattened out. It looks like it hit at a slight
angle into the World Trade Center. I can see flames coming out
of the side of the building, and smoke continues to billow.
CELLINI: Generally, is that a trafficked area in New
York for aircraft?
MURTAGH: It is not a normal flight
pattern. I'm a frequent traveler between Atlanta and New York
for business, and it is not a normal flight pattern to come
directly over Manhattan. Usually, they come up either over the
Hudson River, heading north, and pass alongside, beyond
Manhattan, or if they are taking off from LaGuardia, they
usually take off over Shea Stadium and gain altitude around
the island of Manhattan. It is rare you have a jet crossing
directly over the island of Manhattan.
LIN: For our
viewers who are just tuning in right now, you are looking at
live picture of the World Trade Center tower, where, according
to eyewitness Sean Murtagh -- he is the vice president of
finance and eyewitness to what he describes as a twin-engine
plane -- or possibly a 737 passenger jet -- flying into the
World Trade Center. It appears to be still embedded inside the
Sean, are you in a position to hear whether
any sirens are going, any ambulances, any response to this
MURTAGH: Not from my vantage point. I am probably
1 1/2 to two miles from the World Trade Center.
It is a remarkable scene: flames still coming out of the
windows, black smoke billowing from what appears to be all
sides. Obviously, windows are shattered, and steel is jutting
out from the structure right now.
CELLINI: Sean, we
are looking at these pictures.
MURTAGH: I see them in
my office. I have them on all my TVs.
CELLINI: And you
are telling us you believe the plane remains embedded.
MURTAGH: I can't tell from my vantage point.
LIN: Sean , thank you so much for your eyewitness
Right now, we want to go to our
affiliate NYW, reporting on this as we speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little girl in his arms?
JIM RYAN (ph), WNYW REPORTER: Did you see what
happened, sir? Did you see what happened? What
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was in the PATH train,
and there was a huge explosion sound; everyone came out. A
large section of the building had blown out around the 80th
RYAN: Was it hit by something, or was it
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was
RYAN: It was inside.
FEMALE: It looked like everything was coming out. All the
windows and the papers.
RYAN: What is on the sidewalk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't see anything. I just
ran, and everyone on the passenger train just ran. I don't
know if anyone was hurt, but I assume they were because the
windows were all blown out.
RYAN: Thank you.
have to assume a very, very terrible situation if that is
indeed the case, because I'm sure there were people up
We have lost -- again, our transmitter is on top
of the World Trade Center. So we, apparently, have lost
contact with Dick Oliver.
But we are on the phone with
Rosa, can you hear me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
RYAN: This is
Jim Ryan here in the studio. What is your last name,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cardona Rivera
CELLINI: Again, you are looking at pictures now. We
understand from a CNN vice president, Sean Murtagh, who was an
eyewitness to this, that a commercial jet has crashed into one
of the towers of the World Trade Center. You can see the smoke
billowing out. There are flames billowing out there, a
commercial jet crashing into one of these towers. At this
point, we do not have official injury updates to bring you. We
are only now beginning to put together the pieces of this
LIN: Just a few second ago, we were
tuning into one of our affiliates in New York, WNYW.
We want to go to an eyewitness on the telephone right
Jeanne, what can you tell us what you saw?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can tell you that I was
watching TV, and there was this sonic boom, and the TV went
out. And I thought maybe the Concorde was back in service,
because I've heard about that sonic boom. And I went to the
window -- I live in Battery Park City, right next to the twin
towers -- and I looked up, and the side of the World Trade
Center exploded. At that point, debris started falling. I
couldn't believe what I was watching.
LIN: Can you
hear anything from your position now, ambulances, sirens?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Positively. There are
crowds of people downstairs in Battery Park City. Everybody's
come out from the buildings. This is the financial area in
Manhattan. There are a lot of fire engines; I can see them
from my window.
LIN: Jeanne -- I don't know if you can
tell which tower it is that is on fire, or the kinds of
services that are inside that tower.
WITNESS: I can't tell what is inside. It's the northern tower
versus the southern tower, and it seems to be all sides of the
building, from what I can tell. The west side, the south side,
and it looks like smoke's coming from the east side as well.
CELLINI: Jeanne, can you see any of the debris
currently on the ground area?
YURMAN: Absolutely. It's
continuing to flutter down like leaflets, and at first there
was tons of debris, and it continues to fall out. And it looks
like these uppermost floors are definitely on fire.
CELLINI: Can you see any actual people in that area
who may have been may have been hit by any of this debris or
were not able to get out of way? Can you see any crowds that
are maybe too close to where they should be? Anything like
YURMAN: No, I don't think so. It's not a highly
trafficked area at the base of the World Trade Center. So that
is one fortunate thing.
LIN: Jeanne, we are continuing
to look at pictures of this devastating scene, according to
Sean Murtagh, vice president of finance, who witnessed what he
described as a twin-engine plane, possibly a 737. e was almost
absolutely sure it was a large passenger jet that went into
Jeanne, you are saying you didn't see anything
initially. You didn't see a plane approach the building?
YURMAN: I had no idea it was a plane. I just saw the
entire top part of the World Trade Center explode. So I turned
on the TV when I heard they said it was a plane. It was really
LIN: Were you living in New York during the
World Trade Center bombing?
YURMAN: No, I wasn't.
LIN: Fortunately so. When you say a sonic boom, did
you feel anything? Were things shaking in your apartment?
YURMAN: Yes, you could feel it. It was a gigantic
sonic boom. The TV went off for a second and went back on. And
the windows -- you felt the vibrations on the windows.
CELLINI: You were saying it's not a highly trafficked
area usually. You can guesstimate how many people may be in an
area like that at this hour of the morning?
would be hard to say. There is a huge courtyard between the
two World Trade Center buildings, and the only issue might
have been tourists or business people out in this courtyard
area, and they possibly would have been hit. But the people
that are immediately around the base of the World Trade
Center, I would say, at any given time, you're talking about
maybe 20 or 30 people at best.
CELLINI: We were
talking with Sean Murtagh earlier, and he said this is not
normally an area where you would see some sort of aircraft,
certainly, obviously, that low. That is not a high-traffic
area in terms of flights?
YURMAN: I don't know about
flights. I have a balcony down here in Battery Park City, and
they have that needle sticking out of the top of the World
Trade Center, and I have always wondered if anyone would get
too close to the building and accidentally bear into
CELLINI: Jeanne, tell us a little bit about that
area and how emergency crews would be able to access that
area. Would that be relatively difficult or easy to access for
YURMAN: I would imagine it would be
slightly difficult because to get around the base of the World
Trade Center building there is really only the one street
entrance. The other sides of the building are surrounded by
other buildings in the court yard, and so it's just this
westside highway, this one major street that runs up the west
side of Manhattan that makes it accessible for the fire
engines. And you know, it's amazing to sit here and watch this
building on fire and you've got this tiny little fire engine
that I'm watching.
CELLINI: That's all you see right
now, is the one fire engine?
YURMAN: Well, where the
fire engines are it's a little bit obscured by other
LIN: Jeanne, let me
ask -- I know I'm asking you to be a bit of an expert on the
World Trade Center, but there's a famous viewing deck for
tourists on one of the towers. When you say that this is the
North Tower, is this the one that services a lot of the
tourists to get to the view and get to the restaurant at the
YURMAN: As a matter of fact it is. And, as I'm
sure you can see, there's a ton of smoke coming out right now.
I'm just guessing, the fire seems to be worse on -- it
looks like it's about 15 floors down from the top of the
LIN: Yes. One of the eyewitnesses, one of
our affiliates I was talking to, said that she thought this
was on the 80th floor. We know there is open-air deck 110
stories high and the glass-enclosed observatory is on the
107th floor. So there is the possibility that people may very
well be trapped up there.
All right, thank you so much, Jeanne Yurman...
You're very welcome.
LIN: ... eyewitness here to a loud
sonic boom, she described, as she was sitting inside her
apartment, and she looked up and saw the side of the World
Trade Center exploded into flames and black smoke.
are going to join another one of our New York affiliates, WABC
for their live coverage. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... plane
overhead, and then all of a sudden -- I thought it sounded
kind of loud, and then I looked up and all of a sudden it
smashed right dead into the center of the World Trade Center.
A big flash of flame, fire coming out from all over, then all
the bricks -- it's a huge hole right now. It almost Looks like
the plane probably went through. I'm not sure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winston (ph), can you see -- are
you on the north side there where the plane made
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, when you say a huge hole,
one of our earliest witnesses, Libby Clark (ph), said not much
of the plane came down off the building, much of it
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it went totally into the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in the building,
from what you can see?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, can you see if there is a lot
of debris downstairs, Winston?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No,
because it looks like it's inverted. With the impact
everything went inside the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that
came out was a little bit of the outside awning. But I'd say
the huge -- the hole is -- let me just get a better look right
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd say the whole takes about -- It
looks like six, seven floors were taken out.
there's more explosions right now -- hold on -- people are
running, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should hold on
just a moment. We've got an explosion
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The building's exploding
right now. You've got people running up the street.
Hold on, I'll tell you what's going
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, just put Winston on pause
there for just a moment...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, the
whole building exploded some more, the whole top part. The
building's still intact, people are running up the street. Am
I still connected?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Winston, this
would support probably what Libby and you both said that
perhaps the fuselage was in the building, that would cause a
second explosion such as that.
Well, that's what just happened then.
MALE: That would -- certainly...
People are running up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are
getting word that perhaps...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK,
hold on, there some people here -- everybody's
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Winston -- you
know, let me put Winston on hold for just a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. How much longer are we
staying on? I'm inside of a diner right
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Winston, you know what,
if you could give us a call back. I just don't panic here on
Let's just take some of our pictures from News
Now, one of our producers said perhaps a
second plane was involved, and let's not even speculate to the
point, but at least put it out there that perhaps that may
The second explosion would certainly
back the theory from a couple of eyewitness that the plane
fuselage perhaps stayed in those upper buildings.
if you look at second building, there are two -- both twin
towers now are on fire.
Now, this was not the case, am
I correct, a couple of moment ago. This is the second twin
tower now on fire. And we're going to check on the second
flight, if perhaps that had happened.
This all began
at about 8:48 this morning. Again, what we know in case you
are just joining us, a small plane, not a Cessna-type or five
or six seater, but instead, perhaps a passenger flight ran
into the north side of the World Trade Center.
can see, the second explosion that you are looking at now in
the second twin tower has spread much debris, much more debris
than the first explosion of the first accident. If there is --
is Winston still on the line with us?
OK, he's not
But do we have -- I'll just talk to my
producer. Do we have eyewitness that perhaps sees better than
we do from the pictures?
Again you can see that there
is debris falling off.
OK, we actually have an
"Eyewitness News" reporter, Dr. J. Atlasberg (ph) who was
downtown at the time and he is on the phone with us
Dr. J., what can you tell us?
ATLASBERG (ph), REPORTER: Hello, Steve.
uptown at 86th and Riverside. I can see the World Trade Center
from about half the building up to the top. And about five
minutes ago, as I was watching the smoke, a small plane -- I
did -- it looked like a propeller plane, came in from the
west. And about 20 or 25 stories below the top of the center,
disappeared for a second, and then explode behind a water
tower, so I couldn't tell whether it hit the building or not.
But it was very visible, that a plane had come in at a low
altitude and appeared to crash into the World Trade Center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. J, we're going to take a look
at videotape just moment ago of the second plane hitting the
World Trade Center.
That is spectacular pictures. I
don't know if you could see the plane, and that too was a
passenger plane, if perhaps some type of navigating system or
some type of electronics would have put two planes into the
World Trade Center within it looks like about 18 minutes of
You want to go -- we have another copy.
There is the second plane. Another passenger plane hitting the
World Trade Center.
These pictures are frightening
indeed. These are just minutes between each other. So
naturally, you will guess, and you will speculate, and perhaps
ask the question: If some type of navigating equipment is
awry, the two commuter planes would run into the World Trade
Center's at the same time.
Our director -- you are
speaking in my ear at this point.
You are looking at
live pictures right now of the World Trade Centers.
Again, we now have two passenger planes within 18
minutes of each other smashing into the World Trade Center.
Dr. J., are you still with us on the phone?
ATLASBERG: I'm still with you, Steve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. J, this is just frightening
pictures indeed. And I would assume, or you would naturally
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: You have been
listening to some of the coverage provided by affiliate WABC
out of New York City.
Let's go now and check our other
affiliate WNBC to get the latest -- I'm sorry, WNYW, WNYW,
live coverage here of this amazing picture we're getting from
lower Manhattan, two planes, one hitting each of the twin
towers, at the World Trade Center.
... very difficult too. They come by and they say, what
happened, what happened? And you just got to say, something
hit the building and then something hit both buildings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw clearly -- we didn't see the
first one, but we saw clearly that a plane deliberately
crashed into the -- one of the upper floors of the World Trade
Center, that was the second plane. So two planes crashed into
the upper floors of each of the World Trade Center towers. And
I'm just -- I understand now that the Port Authority
Headquarters are in one of those buildings somewhere near that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim, I don't know whether
we've confirmed that this was an aircraft, or to be more
specific, some people said they thought they saw a missile. I
don't know how people could differentiate, but we might keep
open the possibility that this was a missile attack on these
Ali (ph), I must say that we have an
eyewitness who said it was a large plane that crashed first.
And then as we were watching the live picture here in the
studio, we saw a plane crash into the -- crash into the other
tower of the World Trade Center. And again, let's to be sure,
there it is. There it is, the plane went right through the
other tower of the World Trade Center.
FEMALE: That is a very hard thing to watch.
These are incredible pictures that we're watching this
morning, thanks to our affiliate WNYW in New York.
are looking at this picture, it is the twin towers of the
World Trade Center, both of them being damaged by impacts from
planes. We saw one happen at about maybe nine minutes before
the top of the hour, and just moment ago, so maybe 18 minutes
after the first impact, the second tower was impacted with a
-- by a another -- what appeared to be, another passenger
plane. In fact, we've got some tape replay of that.
we have the tape available right now?
Here is the
tape. You see the plane coming in from the east side and it
goes into the building with the flames and the smoke billowing
out the other side of the tower. It's hard for me to tell
exactly which is the north side and which is the south side.
But it appears it's coming out of south side there.
Incredible pictures. These happened just moments ago,
and I believe we have someone with us on the line, Ira Furman?
We have IRA Firmer, former NTSB Spokesman. You are watching
these pictures as well with us, are you not? IRA FURMAN, FMR.
NTSB SPOKESMAN: Yes, I'm with you on CNN.
can you make of what we have seen, particularly with this
replay we just saw moments ago?
absolutely inexplicable. There shouldn't be any aircraft in
that area, much less something heading what looked like
deliberately for the World Trade Center tower.
You don't think there is any this could be any kind of an
accident, no kind of a navigational equipment failure or some
sort of a navigational quirk by beacons or whatever?
FURMAN: No, you've got incredibly good visibility at
this point, and no pilot is going to be relying on
navigational equipment in such a circumstance that would cause
them to crash into the World Trade Center.
far out of way from an approach to either La Guardia or
Kennedy would a plane have to be to hit the World Trade
FURMAN: There are approach these come up along
the Hudson River, which to the west of the World Trade Center,
and those aircraft usually wind up going into La Guardia. So
you can come within a mile owe two of the World Trade Center.
But it is such a visible object as you are approaching New
York City, that it's just not possible for a pilot during the
daytime to have taken a course that would put it right into
the World Trade Center. The second occurrence within a few
minutes is beyond belief.
HARRIS: As you could see,
there definitely is no weather problem. So weather would
definitely be ruled out as a factor in this case?
FURMAN: Yes, the course is a normal course for
commercial pilots coming into New York. It certainly appeared
from the video on CNN, that the second aircraft was heading
for the tower, and that it was a commercial-size aircraft.
HARRIS: Could you tell, have a better idea what size
of plane was? It was kind of hard for me to tell. You are
expert in the matters. Could you look at the tape and tell me
what size the plane was?
FURMAN: It would have to be
slowed down, and you need more than one angle on it, because
you want see how many imagine engines are on it? The shape of
HARRIS: Guys, could we replay the tape right
now? Do we have the tape right now of the second plane
impacting. We're going to put that tape on in just a second.
Here we are about to roll it now.
If you can, sir, I
don't want you to speculate. But if you can, give us idea what
you might think might be at play here, what kind of plane
we're talking about, or at least what size, if we're talking
about one that would hold say 100 people, one that would hold
300 people. From what you see -- back the tape up further than
Here we go.
FURMAN: It's very hard
to get a perspective on it. I don't know how far away we are
with this. But that looks to me like it could be certainly a
passenger jet and one of those aircraft that could hold 100 or
more people. I caution you at this point to wonder whether or
not that airplane was occupied by more than just a pilot or
crew. We don't necessarily know that there were any passengers
aboard that airplane.
HARRIS: Understood, understood.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Daryn Kagan joining the
conversation here. Sir, but there is no indication there would
be any air traffic on purpose in the area of the World Trade
Center at this time of day, or any time of day for that
FURMAN: Not directly into the world trade
KAGAN: No, but even close to it? you.
FURMAN: You would be clearing the World Trade Center
by a few miles. Normal operations. And when you are looking at
the pictures that you see, with all this smoke and fire and
all of that, it's just absolutely unbelievable to think that a
flight crew that wouldn't ordinarily see the World Trade
Center, wouldn't ordinarily be on course would not see this as
flaming beacon to avoid.
KAGAN: Let me ask you this
about the airspace. Given that it appears two airplanes have
flown into the World Trade Center in 18 minutes, is it
possible to shut down the airspace and keep another plane from
doing something just like it?
FURMAN: I don't think
that this represents an accident.
And so I don't think
that we're talking about having to now keep other aircraft
away. This picture that CNN is broadcasting live is probably
from a range of a couple of miles away, and you can see that.
KAGAN: No, certainly that. But if there was somebody
intentionally trying to do the same thing again, is there a
way to shut down the airspace to keep things out?
FURMAN: You can't shut down the airspace. There is no
gate, there is not fence in airspace. All you can do is
broadcast that that airspace is closed. But if someone is
intent on breaking through it, that happens with our military
airspace all the time off the coast.
HARRIS: I want to
bring up a couple points if I may. We have been told that
President Bush has been informed of this incredible tragedy
happening in New York. He did have an event scheduled at 9:00
this morning, which we were going to cover here, and he has
just canceled that event. We expect he will have some comments
fairly soon, and we will bring those to you live the moment
that we understand he is available. But I'd like to ask you
once again, Ira, if I can get to back asking you about this
particular crash. Is it possible that those who are tracking
planes, either at La Guardia, can give us some more
information about exactly what happened here. Were these
planes I guess using beacons to come in, or was there some
sort of identification of these planes, as they approach the
New York area?
FURMAN: Yes, there should be, if they
were under air traffic control. You've got one eyewitness
telling you that The first aircraft flew from Westchester and
flew down through Manhattan, and directly into the World Trade
Center, presumedly the north tower. And now you've got --
you're showing the other aircraft coming in, looks to me like
it would be from the West, into the other tower.
planes could be, should be, normally would be under air-
traffic control. But it is also entirely possible for aircraft
to fly into, through or over New York, or in this case into a
building in New York, without being under the control, and we
use that word advisedly. All that means is information is what
air traffic control is. And just operate and do whatever they
want, if they don't follow the rules of air traffic control.
HARRIS: Ira Furman, we thank you very, very much for
your insight. And the longer we talk, the less convinced many
will become that this was an accident. We thank you very much
for your insight.
KAGAN: More information on that just
Now we want to bring in Todd Harris (ph). Todd
on the scene, saw what happened.
Todd are you with us?
TODD HARRIS: Yes, I had a perfect view, and the plane
was coming in. I noticed it a second before it hit the
building. It looked like it was moving slowly, and it lined
itself up to hit the building directly.
KAGAN: Are you
talking about the first plane or the second plane?
HARRIS: The first plane.
KAGAN: Now, Todd,
tell us exactly where you are, where you had this great view.
HARRIS: I was on highway 278, like a dead-on view of
the side that hit building.
KAGAN: All right, Todd,
hang on, we're going to continue our conversation. Leon has
something to jump in here with.
HARRIS: Yes, I'm
checking the wires even as we speak. The Associated Press is
reporting right now that the FBI in Washington is
investigating reports that these two plane crashes the result
of foul play. There is a report here by the Associated Press
of a possible plane hijacking. They don't say two. But they
say a possible plane hijacking.
Let's go to Kelli
Arena who's on the phone right now from Washington --
Kelli Arena, are you there? .
ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm here.
HARRIS: What have
ARENA: Hi there.
Well, an FBI
official has told CNN that they are investigating, but they
have not yet determined whether or not this was indeed a
terrorist act. The official that I spoke to said that so far,
there has been no communication, no one claiming
responsibility for either of those crashes. There is an
investigation under way. If there is anything to be said
officially, it will come out of the New York City field office
of the FBI, which is right now involved in that investigation
to find out whether or not it was.
But I have to tell
you, I repeat, right now the FBI has not determined whether or
not this is a terrorist act, although they are investigating.
HARRIS: All right, thank you very much. Kelli Arena,
we appreciate that.
Daryn, back to you.
All right, let's go ahead and bring back in Todd Harris. Todd,
are you still with us?
We don't have Todd.
once again, if you're just joining us, the breaking story that
we're following out of New York City. Within the span of 18
minutes, two separate planes crashing into the World Trade
Center. The rescue operations under way, not clear -- we will
show you -- this is second plane, after first tower already on
fire. Let the pictures tell the story. You saw it live here on
CNN as it happened the plane crashed right into the side of
World Trade Center, causing a huge explosion.
we're showing you live pictures now. Smoke and fire taking
place in both towers of the World Trade Center.
HARRIS: It appears that second plane that we actually
did have on videotape actually turned. And I have to think,
I'm not an expert in these things, so I don't know, but it
would seem as though that move actually may have caused much
These are incredible pictures, as you can
KAGAN: Let's keep the pictures here. Joe
Tractsonburg (ph) joining us on the phone. Joe, are you with
JOE TRACTSONBURG: Yes, I am.
KAGAN: Can you
tell us what your vantage point is and what you've seen so
TRACTSONBURG: Well, I heard on the radio that one
of the towers was on fire. And we went to a high point in our
building, which is on the 25th floor, and you had a clear view
of the both World Trade Centers and the one that was smoking
hard, and there was another plane that was flying low, and we
just looked at it, and before we know it, it was just
kamikaze, boom, right into the other tower, and mass
explosion, windows flying. It was horrible. I'm still
distraught looking at it.
KAGAN: Were you close enough
to see or get a general idea of what kind of plane that was
that flew in the second time?
TRACTSONBURG: Well, I'm
not an expert on planes, but it didn't seem like a big
passenger jet. It was smaller type plane, because it made some
pretty radical turn, and flying low. And you're not used to
seeing big planes flying over Manhattan, because I don't think
you're allowed to. But it was pretty tough.
explain to me again, what your vantage point is, where you are
in the city looking at this?
TRACTSONBURG: We're in
Chelsea. It's -- like 25th Street, 7th Avenue, it's clear
looking all the way downtown, and you could see the building,
you know, the whole downtown, because it's a clear day, and
it's a disaster.
KAGAN: And once again, describe for
us what you saw as that plane went into the second building.
TRACTSONBURG: That plane just flew straight into the
second building on the downtown side it appears. It was just a
huge explosion. And smoke just immediately, fire started
immediately coming from the second tower as it hit, and there
was glass flying everywhere.
KAGAN: Looks like we have
a little bit of audio problems. So I'm going to say thanks to
Joe Tractsonburg for talking to us and telling us what he saw.
We are watching it right here, live on CNN, as that
plane went it. He had a closer vantage point, and as you can
see, as you heard, Leon, he doesn't think it was a big jet,
but a smaller plane, from where he could see it.
HARRIS: Well, we do have the tape of a recounting by
another eyewitness. We want to go to some tape we're getting
from our affiliate WABC in New York, where they interviewed an
eyewitness who saw the second crash as it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I say the whole takes about -- we saw six, seven floors were
taken out, and there's more explosions right now. Hold on,
people are running! Hold on!
REPORTER: Hold on just a moment. We've got an explosion
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The building is exploding
right now. You've got people running up the street. Hold on,
I'll tell you what's going on.
REPORTER: OK, just put Winston on pause there for just a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole building just
exploded some more, the whole top part. The building's still
intact people are running up the street. Am I still connected?
UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: Winston, this would
support probably what Libby and you both said, that perhaps
the fuselage was in the building that would cause a second
explosion, such as that. That's what just happened then.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are running out.
UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: We are getting word that
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, hold the people here
-- everybody here is panicking.
KAGAN: Keep in mind the first plane hit about
8:48 a.m., so there had to already be a number of people at
work inside the World Trade Center.
We're going to go
right now and bring in Rose Arce, one of our producers here at
CNN. She's with us on the phone, and has with her a number of
people who have escaped the building -- Rose.
ARCE, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, there's a huge crowd out. There are
hundreds of people on the streets that come from south to
north. I mean literally thousands of people that have been
running from inside these building. It's a very heavily
trafficked area in downtown. Many of them are inside the
building when they felt the explosion. And they say there was
just pandemonium. There was no warning, no alarms, no
Everyone just raced from their desks, ran
downstairs and now there is a steady of stream of folks
running away from the building. Some people fearing that there
will be another explosion. And when they saw the second plane,
convinced that this was dangerous. There is an actual flood of
folks escaping downtown midtown Manhattan right now.
KAGAN: And, Rose, do you have anybody with you that
could talk about being inside the World Trade Center when this
ARCE: Right now, honestly, there scores of
people literally running behind me. There is debris on the
base of the building that has continued to fall. As you know,
even as far as a block away from the building. And what's
happened is everyone seems to have figured out that there's
ongoing danger, and there's just a stream of folks running as
quickly as they can uptown away from this.
Understandably. What about rescue efforts? I would imagine
there is still a number of people inside those buildings.
ARCE: Right now. What you see right now, is there are
trucks trying to get through. And people have actually jumped
from the crowd and are trying to help direct traffic to try to
get emergency vehicles there. There's no traffic going in the
other direction, but because of the flow of people, it looks
like some emergency vehicles are actually having trouble
getting to the scene.
KAGAN: And from you are
standing, is there any kind of command center, any place that
people are being directed toward?
ARCE: Right now,
what there is, is there is crush of emergency vehicles and
rescue vehicles, but they don't seem to be quite organized in
any direction. There's fire department vehicles on the one
side, where you see the smoke coming out of the building.
On the other hand, you see groups of police officers
trying to organize the crowd, and in more orderly fashion. I
think there seems to be some fear on their part that such a
huge crowd of people might injure each other on the way out.
KAGAN: All right, Rose Arce, on the ground there, near
the World Trade Center. We continue our coverage live, with
the live pictures as we go.
HARRIS: And we're just now
getting word again from the Associated Press now, saying that
the crash of these two aircraft into the towers, the World
Trade Center in New York, appeared to be an act of terrorism.
This, they are quoting a U.S. official. They did not say which
department of this -- this U.S. official was speaking from, or
the authority this official was actually carrying at this
particular point. But they are saying that a U.S. official is
now saying to the Associated Press, it is -- he is saying at
least that these two aircraft crashes that we have seen into
each of the towers of the World Trade Center are the act of
We are just getting word now that President
Bush is going to be coming out, and he's going to have
comments momentarily, we understand. We are keeping an eye on
the picture from Sarasota. He is going to be returning to
Washington almost immediately, we understand --
KAGAN: And as you mentioned, President Bush is
in Florida today. We're supposed to have an education event
just minutes from now. That has canceled.
Garrett is traveling with the president.
you can tell us a little bit more on the president's immediate
MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:
Good morning, Daryn.
President Bush, as you said, will
make a statement here at Emma E. Booker Elementary School in
Sarasota at the catastrophe in the twin towers in New York.
Following that statement, the president will board Air Force
One and return immediately to Washington. We are told by White
House officials traveling with the president in Sarasota that
he was notified either shortly before 9:00 or shortly after.
We don't have an exact moment of the notification of the
president. We believe his chief of staff Andrew Card told him
of the events in New York City. The president has been
monitoring them as best as he can.
He was at one
moment this morning sitting, reading a book to some of the
elementary schoolchildren as scheduled. Reporters asked him if
he was aware of the situation in New York. He nodded a bit
gravely, and said he would have something to say about that
shortly. We are expecting that statement any moment now. I can
tell you here in Sarasota with those traveling with the
president, they are trying to sift through all of the amazing
and terrifying -- both pictures and details as they can get
them from New York City. But no confirmation here from White
House officials about what this in fact is, whether it's
accident or terrorism. They are trying to gather information
as best they can, give it to the president, and trying to keep
thing on a very calm and even keel as possible.
And on that not, Major, it sounds like that exchange of
questions with the president came at what would be a sensitive
time if you were sitting in front of a bunch of schoolchildren
and not wanting to scare the children.
precisely. And the president has a way of letting reporters
know that it's either an appropriate time or inappropriate
time to take questions. He does that in many different
environments, many different situations. Clearly this morning,
with a crowd of children, he wanted to keep an even keel, keep
the situation under control as best as possible. He just
nodded and said -- we'll talk about this later.
So once again, we do expect to hear from the president soon. A
timeframe on that?
GARRETT: Within the next 10 minutes
or so. Again, things are very much in flux, things a bit
confused. The event here, which is scheduled to talk about
education reform, talk about the importance of reading, that
has been scrubbed. And the president trying to gather whatever
information, all the information he can from various White
House sources, make a statement, and then get aboard Air Force
One, and get back to Washington just as soon as he can.
KAGAN: Major Garrett traveling with the president in
Sarasota, Florida. Major, thank you very much. And of course,
As soon as the president begins to speaks, you will see those
comments live here on CNN -- Leon.
HARRIS: I want to
inform you we've just gotten word according to Reuter's news
service, trading on the markets in New York have been
postponed indefinitely, and we will try to keep an eye on
that. We can't expect that to get under way anytime soon. You
just heard Major Garrett moments ago this investigation --
we're just not getting reports from the Associated Press,
saying that U.S. officials are saying this is an act of
Let's go now to our David Ensor, who's on
the phone right now, and give us some more information on what
may be at stake there -- David.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN
CORRESPONDENT: Leon, I can just tell you that U.S. officials
are also telling me that the -- this is clearly not an
accident in their view, and they do believe that terrorism is
at the root of this. They believe that this is a terrorist
However, they have very little other information.
Obviously, law enforcement agencies will be taking a lead on
this, trying to find out who is -- who was flying the planes,
whether they in fact had turned away from their regular
flights and so on, so very little information.
David, we're going to have to cut you off. President Bush is
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