Survivor of the attacks of September 11, 2001: “I should have died 50 times that day”

20 years after the September 11 attacks, we found a survivor, Bruno Dellinger, a French business owner, whose office was located on the 47th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

8:46 am, the first plane hits the north tower

Arriving early that morning in the building, he remembers the moments before the impact of the first plane at 8.46am:

“We lived in the sky in the World Trade Center, in immense calm, unlike the rest of the city. I contemplated the view. Gradually, two of my employees arrived, then I checked my emails when suddenly, I heard the shrill noise of the reactors, an incredible noise that was beyond comprehension. Then, there was immediately the impact on the facade where my office was, twenty floors above. I lived live the facades that collapsed, the building that swaying in a very very disturbing way (…) We felt that we were on the verge of rupture. It lasted a very long time, two, three minutes. “

The slow evacuation of the building

Without having seen it, Bruno Dellinger immediately thinks that it is a plane, remembering that an aircraft had already accidentally struck the Empire State Building in the past. Not wanting to panic, he stays at his desk first, before finally realizing that he has to evacuate the building urgently:

“I had the compelling intuition that I had to go and I left. I passed a group of people who were taking a different staircase than the one I took, who died. And I, I got out after a descent that lasted 50 minutes, very complicated in appalling heat. “

Also survive the collapse of the Towers

Bruno Dellinger agrees, his survival is due to a miracle; “I should have died on 50 occasions during that day. If I had left ten seconds later, I would indeed die. On several occasions during that day there were important choices to be made. I made the experience of what stretching time is, where you have a thousandth of a second where it crumbles and you feel like you have eternity in front of you to analyze everything, and yet a thousandth of a second. I discovered the wealth and immense resources of the human being who, in the end, for his preservation, often makes the right decisions. “

Arrived in the street, in a state of bewilderment, Bruno Dellinger then had to face the collapse of the towers:

_ “I saw this kind of monster of steel, glass, powder, cement, material of half a kilometer arrive, and I felt very, very small in front of this similar monster which was preceded by a breath that reached us with extraordinary violence. Then suddenly, we were engulfed in this story. I then had an experience which will traumatize me very deeply: in the space of a few moments, everything has become more. black only one night, and there was no more noise. Faced with the excessiveness of the elements, my body thought it was dead. All these things: noise, lights, sound, these are things that we do not learn, that we know from birth. But when they are called into question by the force of events, the body, the mind no longer understand. Terrorized, I tried to breathe through a paper towel I had, then an FBI officer came in and pulled me inside a bank branch where I could start to breathe. “

A “complicated” psychological reconstruction

Traumatized, terrified, Bruno Dellinger waited three months before returning to the scene of the disaster. “When I saw the rest of the facade that was planted, straight, I was proud despite everything that we had not been degraded to the point of shaving us and that there was still something of our pride that remained standing . “

After September 11, we had to continue to live, to rebuild ourselves:“It was very complicated, because I was a ball of suffers, of pain, because really I was psychologically dead. When I was walking in the street and I saw a sign of life, the sun shining through example, I said to myself: it is not possible because you are dead, I had a fuse which exploded in the head. The signals of life started to reappear a month, two months later: a good tomato which has taste, silly things like going to a swimming pool. “

Her children made her love humanity again

Bruno Dellinger went back to work, wrote a book (“World Trade Center, 47th floor at Éditions Robert Laffont”) and then had children. “I hated the humanity that had tortured me so much. But with the arrival of my children, I could no longer hate it and basically, it made me switch to a totally different field, that of a being. normal human. That’s why I say it was barbarians who tortured us, because I became a normal human being again with compassion, emotion, tenderness. “

20 years later, the bitterness of seeing the Taliban return to Afghanistan

The commemoration of the 20th anniversary of September 11 – a symbolic number – coincides with the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan, a country which had served as a rear base for Al Qaida to carry out the attacks. Bruno Delinger lived this event with a lot of bitterness _: _

“I do not dispute after twenty years the merits of leaving Afghanistan. On the other hand, the conditions in which one leaves Afghanistan are very difficult for me to swallow. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of this day of horror, I find it a sinister light that casts a shadow over the image we can form of ourselves. And this deeply touches me, it hurts me and it upsets me. “

Bruno Dellinger testifies regularly in the media and also in schools to tell a generation which did not know September 11, the horror of this day.

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