thread TS1234 posted a link to this
"peer-reviewed" paper in the Journal for 9/11 Studies
. The paper lists various first-person accounts of things that sounded or looked like explosions at the WTC on 9/11. I took a look at the most provocative category, which is people who said they heard or saw what they described as "like bombs going off" or "like secondary devices." The paper lists 31 FDNY members who described such events. Here's my breakdown of what they heard and saw.
People in the "described something like a bomb” category.....31
# Who did not actually mention bombs, explosions, devices.....1 (Walter Kowalczyk)
Remaining people in "bomb" category.....30
# Who were describing the collapse of a tower.....30
# Who had no idea at the time of the event that what they heard was the collapse of a tower (usually because they were inside another building).....15
# Who saw the collapse of a tower, at least partially.....7
# Who explained that they knew the explosive sounds were collapses.....2
# Who said they had no idea what was going on during the event.....4
# Who said they thought, as of the interview date, that they had actually seen or heard explosives.....0
# Who have claimed in the past 5 years that they believe there were explosive devices in the buildings.....0
(See the quotes below)
I have read through and taken notes on over 14,000 pages of interview transcripts and audio recordings of first responders to the WTC incident. Some observations:
–Overwhelmingly, when something like an explosion is described, the event is the collapse of a tower: not the noises leading up to collapse, but the fall of a tower itself.
–Almost no one who was in the north tower when the south collapsed knew what had happened. Many only found out after evacuating the north tower. Many people in the north tower lobby who took the brunt of the south tower collapse described it as a huge explosion, and were thrown a great distance by the blast of air and debris.
–Most people who were in the Marriott/Vista hotel did not know that it was the south tower that collapsed on it. They thought it was a bomb within the Marriott.
–Some people who were on the scene for hours did not know that both towers had collapsed completely, because the smoke and dust and confusion was so great.
–There were several reports of internal collapses in the towers.
–Many people who were on the scene early did not know that a plane/planes had hit the towers and assumed it was bombs.
–Virtually everyone, including those who knew that planes had done the initial damage, was worried about the possibility of secondary devices in the buildings and surrounding area: this had been drilled into them in training.
–Numerous people described the impacts of jumpers as "explosions."
–Dozens of vehicles burned and their gas tanks exploded after each of the three major collapses.
–There were many bomb scares in the area, including one that coincided with a gas leak warning that cleared out the area northwest of the WTC, including Stuyvesant High School.
–Police fired pistols in at least three incidents, once to alert rescuers and the other times to break windows to find refuge.
–There are some reports of firefighter's oxygen tanks exploding.
I haven't quantified all of my notes on the above categories of explosions, but I have broken down how people described hearing the collapse of the towers themselves. Most of the accounts are from FDNY and Port Authority Police interviews. I reviewed 603 of these.
First responder accounts reviewed 603
Descriptions of collapses noted 432
Described tower collapses as “Rumble/huge rumbling, etc.” 186 accounts
Described tower collapses as “Explosion/Like an explosion” 55
Described tower collapses as “Sound like a Jet/Jet engine” 42
Described tower collapses as “Roar” 35
Described tower collapses as “Like a train/locomotive” 23
Described tower collapses as “Like thunder/thunderous” 9
Described tower collapses as “Like an earthquake” 7
Described tower collapses using other terms (see below) 75
Here is how most of the people in the "other" category described the sound of the tower collapses (NT is north tower, ST is south):
Thrushing noise like a rocket.
Loud whistling noise.
Heard a large fall of something.
Heard the noise of something going on.
A loud noise.
NT: Boom, boom, boom, very loud.
Heard a big boom.
ST: Really loud crackling sound, like a million firecrackers.
NT: Like every floor went chu, chu, chu.
Groaning and grinding
The worst sound of a rolling sound
Like metal clanging on metal
Like an incoming missile.
A loud noise that I can't even explain.
ST: Sounded like a waterfall almost. NT: Like a plane
Didn't hear anything
NT: Like rushing water.
Like a giant tree branch breaking
A big "Shhhhh," Sounded like a missile coming.
Just a loud noise
The most horrendous noise
Like those rockets they launch the space shuttle with
ST: bangs NT: rumbling
NT/ST: Rushing roar
The two crashes and two collapses all sounded the same
NT: Loud crack.
NT/ST: Terrible noise
Puffing and bouncing
An unusual sound
Like a missile
Heard pops, looked like it was blowing on all 4 sides.
NT/ST: Crackling and thundering
High pitched whine.
Didn't seem like an explosion.
boom boom boom, then train roar.
NT: Loud noise
Loud Noise, Cracking
Like marbles crashing down
Like Steel cutting through steel
"A sound I never heard before"
NT: Another noise
Low sounding boom, big roar.
"A Little bit of noise."
Although on the site, didn't hear collapse at all (!).
NT: Waterfall noise
Shh! Like hydrant
Firecrackers, then a low rumble.
Twisting sound of metal
NT/ST: Shuddering shrilling noise of metal falling
Sound of gasses being compressed
These are the relevant excerpts from the accounts
of the 30 people who said that the collapses sounded or looked like a bomb/explosion: