9/11 relived by British woman who worked in South Tower

Emily Payne

Ten years ago the 9/11 terrorist attacks directly changed thousands of lives forever - from the families of those who died, to people who were actually in the Twin Towers when the planes struck. To commemorate the event, we have spoken to two victims to hear their stories of that fateful day.

Janice Brook, 51, from Essex, had recently moved to New York. She had just started working for Eurobrokers on the 84th floor of the World Trade Centre, South Tower. The company had 285 employers working on the site. On 11 September they lost 61 of them, six of whom were British.

It was Janice’s boss over 3000 miles away in London, who informed her on the telephone of the chaos occurring just metres away in the neighbouring tower.

In the 11 September Digital Archive, she explains: “I remember picking up the telephone to dial London, and I heard a loud bang, my PC screen flickered, the lights flashed on and off, and I saw paper and dust floating through the office window opposite where I sat.

“I ran around the corner to see [a colleague] Brian Clark, who told me not to panic, that it was probably a construction explosion, and that he would investigate. I went back to my desk, sat down, and then I heard a man's voice shouting 'everybody out'.”

Janice vividly remembers the phone call she made to Robin Clark, the Managing Director of her London office. “I said: 'Rob, something's happening next door, we're all okay, but we're leaving.'

“He said: 'Something's happening next door? F****** hell Janice, a plane's gone into the building - get the f*** out of there!'”

In shock, Janice made her way out into the corridor where several of her colleagues stood. Torn between staying with them and hurriedly escaping the building, her mind was made up when another colleague called her to follow him down the stairs.

She says: “I was about five steps into the corridor when I felt a dull thud, the building shook for about five seconds, and I fell back against the wall, I also remember the ceiling coming down behind me, with smoke and dust filling the air.”

She narrowly missed the impact of the second plane which demolished her office and killed many of her colleagues, including those she had been with just seconds before.

Janice has now been back in the UK for five years and is returning to New York for the first time since the tragedy to join in the remembrance with the 9/11 survivors network.

Related link: We also spoke to Karin Charles, who lost her husband in the attacks. To read her emotional interview click here.