We’ve all seen the images that ensued on September 11th, 2001, but most of us have no idea what it was like to live through them.
A special group got the chance tonight though to listen firsthand to a man who was in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on that fateful day.
George Sleigh spoke at the Coshocton County Career Center, telling the audience his story of survival.
He says seeing pictures or watching video of that day still shakes him up.
He commuted from New Jersey that day-a crystal clear morning- and arrived at his office on the 91st floor around 7:30 a.m.
He says while he was on the phone, just before nine a.m, he heard an incredible roar.
“Upon hearing this roar, i turned around, spun around in the chair, and right in front of me was this large passenger jet. Its wheels were up. I just saw the underbelly of the plane and almost instantly upon seeing it, the plane was into the building, ” says Sleigh.
Sleigh says he had a close encounter with the jet plane.
“It came in 25 feet above my head and my office just collapsed around me. All the ceiling tiles came down. The light fixtures came down, ” says Sleigh.
In a matter of seconds, he says he dropped the phone.
“I knelt forward in my chair, and I covered my head to protect myself from the stuff that was flying around me. I just prayed to God to save me, ” says Sleigh.
After the plane hit, Sleigh says he knew he and his colleagues needed to get out of the building as quickly as possible. The elevators weren’t working, and the group has three stairwells to choose from. Sleigh says there was so much debris, they couldn’t even get to the first stairwell. The second stairwell door couldn’t open because there was too much debris blocking it, and Sleigh says their only way out was the third stairwell, which was completely blocked above them but clear below.
“There was no one above the 91st floor that escaped. No one survived above the floor I was on, ” says Sleigh.
Sleigh says he and all 12 of his colleagues made it out of the North Tower safely on that day.