During the Attack

The words of Jimmy Kelty, a commanding officer in the Manhattan Fire Marshal's office and brother of Capt. Gene Kelty of the famed Ladder Company 10, after the North Tower collapsed:

"I couldn't see. It was total darkness. I couldn't see or breathe. I was sure I was going to die. There was no way to get any oxygen into my lungs because the air was so filled with debris. I could barely see, up ahead I saw a flashing light, praying that it might be one of our rigs. When I got near the light, a door opened and these guys just hauled me in and slapped an oxygen mask on my face." The vehicle, Kelty said, was a Hatzalah ambulance. "I'm here because of them. Whenever they saw someone stumbling by, they would reach out and save another person. It was amazing."

Chevra Hatzalah played a pivotal role in the World Trade Center rescue operations. The very first ambulance to arrive at the World Trade Center following the first plane crash on September 11, 2001 was a Hatzalah ambulance. By the time the second airplane crashed into the second tower, there were two-dozen Hatzalah ambulances, including Hatzalah’s Communications and Command Center trailer, and more than 100 Hatzalah EMTs, paramedics, and doctors on scene. Before the buildings came down, ambulances had arrived from Hatzalah of Rockland County, 40 miles to the North, with additional medics and EMTs. During the first hour, over 125 patients were transported to area hospitals by Hatzalah ambulances.

At the south end of the Twin Towers, Hatzalah was the predominant ambulance service covering the disaster scene. Hatzalah ambulances transported numerous victims, including fire fighters and police officers.


08.45 a.m. - New York : First aircraft crashes into the World Trade Center North tower; this is AA11.
09.03 a.m. - New York : Second aircraft flies into the South tower, on live television; this is UA175.
09.18 a.m. - New York : FAA closes all New York airports.
09.21 a.m. - New York : All city bridges and tunnels closed.
09.40 a.m. - New York : FAA grounds all US domestic flights.
09.45 a.m. - Washington : Reports of two explosions in the Pentagon
10.00 a.m. - New York : The WTC South tower collapses.
10.10 a.m . - Washington : Part of the Pentagon collapses.
10.10 a.m. - Pennsylvania : UA93, a B767, crashes not far from Pittsburgh.
10.29 a.m. - New York : The WTC North tower collapses.

In addition, Hatzalah assisted in the rescue of thousands of men, women and children, who escaped to the docks near the Holocaust Museum in Battery Park and helped evacuate these people onto boats headed for New Jersey . During the day some volunteers were missing, but, thank G-d, there were few casualties amongst the Hatzalah team - miraculously all Hatzalah members survived.

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