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9/11 ‘Miracle Survivor’ Reveals His 22-Story Fall

Pasquale Buzzelli was silent for 11 years and now reveals how he fell 22 floors after the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers – and survived.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/10/2012, 7:14 PM

9/11 attack on the WTC
9/11 attack on the WTC
Joel Meyerowitz/ US State

Pasquale Buzzelli was silent for 11 years and now reveals how he fell 22 floors after the 9/11 attack on New York City’s World Trade Center’s Twin Towers – and survived.

His tale has been considered a fable, one of those imaginary stories that make the rounds after a disaster, but he has overcome his trauma to speak about his personal miracle to people who have documented his survival and related his tale to a London newspaper on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the tragedy that killed nearly 3,000 peole in four aerial terrorist attacks.

Buzzelli was working as a structural engineer for the New York Port Authority and was on his way to his 64th floor office when his elevator stopped at floor 44 after the first Al Qaeda terrorist overtook a plane and rammed it into the North Tower, 50 floors higher.

He apparently was not aware of what happened despite scenes of panic and he continued on the elevator to his office

His wife Louise relayed that he phoned her to turn on the television and find out what was happening. After she told him that a plane had hit the building , which now was in flames, Pasquale and his colleagues turned on their own television and saw the second plane hit the other tower.

They scurried down the building, but the building began to collapse when he reached the 22nd floor.

His wife watched the catastrophe live on television and figured he was dead, and for a good reason. As the walls around him fell apart, he began a free-fall, experienced a bright flash and fell unconscious.

"I've never jumped out of a plane but I guess I was experiencing that feeling of surfing down, just riding the air and getting buffered around, as if I was on a rollercoaster," he said.

Two hundred others who fell or jumped did not live to tell about it, but Pasquale woke up three hours later, having suffered no more than  a broken leg and a crushed ankle. Underneath him as the debris of ruins of several floors.

He told the London Sun he has not spoken publicly about his survival because of the trauma and “survivor guilt” – 14 of his co-workers were killed.

“They were the last people I saw, then they were gone,” he said. “They were the victims and I was the survivor. So I had a sense of guilt. I just wanted to pretend it didn't happen."

However, his wife kept a diary for their two children.

One medical examiner who helped lead the forensic probe of the 9/11 attack was quoted by the London Telegraph as saying that the chances of surviving even a fall of five floor are “pretty grim.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Prof. Thomas Eagar theorizes that the winds from the falling towers were strong enough to lift a man into the air.