Dramatic Images of World Trade Center Collapse on 9/11 Released for First Time

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We
have seen the Twin Towers collapse hundreds of times on TV. The
steel and glass skyscrapers exploding like a bag of flour, the dust
and smoke pluming out across Manhattan. But never like this, from
above.

Nine years
after the defining moment of the 21st century, a stunning set of
photographs taken by New York Police helicopters forces us to look
afresh at a catastrophe we assumed we knew so well.

You know but
cannot see the 2,752 men, women and children who died at the World
Trade Center on September 11, 2001. None is visible here.


Terror: A
tidal wave of dust and debris roars through lower Manhattan as the
World Trade Center collapses on September 11, 2001


Collapse:
This image captures the sheer size of the debris cloud enveloping
buildings and cars as the towers collapse


The cloud
spreads out, consuming the surrounding area and moving out over
the East River

All we see
is the spectacular moment of collapse, what film directors call
the wide shot, showing the towers in their urban setting, before,
during and after their fall.

Even for those
who were there, like me, running from the cloud and choking in the
dust, it is hard to believe. But what is all too evident to everyone
is that this event changed the world, with consequences that will
haunt us for decades.

With the Twin
Towers collapsed the world we thought we knew.

These dramatic
images were taken by police photographers in helicopters and it
is the first time they have been seen, having been released under
a Freedom of Information request made by America’s ABC News.

Burning buildings
can be seen crumpling in on themselves as plumes of smoke rise up
over the New York skyline that terrible September morning.

The images
show how the police helicopter first began taking images from afar
before moving in to reveal the devastation taking place underneath.

They also reveal
the horror faced by those trapped in the burning buildings and then
the walls of smoke and debris that enveloped the surrounding area
as the towers came crashing down.

Released more
than eight years after the deaths of 2,752 people on that day, they
are powerful reminders of the attack that led to wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq.

The legacy
of the New York attack continues today with as British forces joining
with Afghan soldiers and Nato to launch the biggest attack on the
Taliban – accused of harbouring Al Qaeda who organised the
9/11 attack – since the initial 2001 offensive.

Meanwhile,
in New York, work is continuing to build on the rubble of what became
known as Ground Zero.

Structural
steel for the 1,776ft tower, which will be known as 1 World Trade
Center, has already reached 200ft above street level.

Workers are
now installing 16 steel nodes on the 20th-floor of the tower which
will serve as joints between the steel framing for the building’s
podium and the steel for the rest of the tower. The 104-storey skyscraper
is due to be completed in 2013 and will be one of the tallest buildings
in the U.S.


The moment
one of the World Trade Center towers begins to crumble in New York


Target: Smoke fills the surrounding area as the South Tower collapses
after the terrorist attack by Al Qaeda


At first the police helicopter is far away (above) before it moves
through the smoke to show the flames pouring out of the ravaged
North Tower (below)


Deadly: A total of seven World Trade Center buildings were destroyed
that day, killing 2,752 people


A plume of smoke rises up from one of the towers as it collapses

SO WHY ARE
WE SEEING THEM NOW?

After 9/11
the U.S.’s National Institute of Standards and Technology collected
images from amateur, professional and freelance photographers as
part of its investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center.
It completed its research in 2005. In the summer of last year, ABC
saw that NIST was asking the photographers’ permission to release
the images and filed a request under the Freedom of Information
Act to get access to them. The images seen here are ones taken by
NYPD helicopters and come from the 2,779 pictures supplied on nine
CDs to the news organisation.

This is reprinted from the Daily
Mail
. All photos are in the public domain.

February
12, 2010

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