Many of the victims lost in the South Tower align with Sean Rooney’s relatively calm demeanor. While in hindsight their decision to remain on the upper floors of a skyscraper whose twin was profusely smoking and smoldering seems terribly misguided, at the time many didn’t realize the explosion in the neighboring tower was a plane crash – or, if they did, thought it was an accident.
In between crashes, there were just 17 disorienting minutes for those on the South Tower’s upper floors to descend to safety. Their deaths, then, were both tragically avoidable yet entirely understandable.
Still, the case of Brad Fetchet sticks out. Fetchet, 24, worked for financial firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of the South Tower. Shortly after the plane struck the North Tower, he called his parents. The message he left (about 17:30 into the video) was shockingly even-keeled for what he’d just witnessed.
“I’m obviously alive and well over here… pretty scary experience though. I saw a guy fall out of probably the 91st story, all the way down.”
Frustratingly, Fetchet had no intention of leaving his office. The message concludes: “You’re welcome to give a call. I think we’ll be here all day. Love you.”