Entertainment

Saved from 9/11 tragedy by 'miracle'

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Monday, September 11, 2017

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ON the morning of September 11 2001, Anthony Turner was in Mount Vernon, New York, heading to the hospital to witness the birth of his second child.

A publicist for a number of artistes including Richie Stephens, Turner's substantive job was as an engineer with a telecommunications company in Manhattan. His office was beside the World Trade Center (WTC).

It was while at the hospital that he heard on the radio that two hijacked planes had crashed into the WTC's twin towers. What turned out to be a terrorist attack killed nearly 3,000 people, including 35 Jamaicans.

Turner, whose daughter, Aaliyah, was born that day, would have been at work had it not been for the joyous occasion.

“I credit her for possibly saving my life,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

It was not until Turner went to Manhattan that week and got first-hand accounts of the tragedy that its magnitude hit home.

“Most of my co-workers told me stories of what they saw, including hundreds of people jumping to their deaths,” he recalled.

Turner was a regular at the WTC. He attended several business meetings there as well as its popular lunchtime concerts.

One of the hubs of international commerce, Manhattan was shattered and shell-shocked by the attacks which were masterminded by terrorist group al-Qaeda.

Businesses, including the New York Stock Exchange, were closed.

Within days, United States president George W Bush ordered the stock exchange to reopen. Because of his expertise as an engineer, Turner was assigned by his company to assist in restoring data and voice traffic for companies in the immediate area.

Born in Westmoreland, Anthony Turner migrated to the United States in 1984. He still pulls double duty as an engineer and entertainment industry consultant. His daughter, now 16, is in high school.

“I do not work in Manhattan anymore, but every time I'm in the area, images of what I saw on TV that morning flash across my mind,” he said.

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