With The Chances Of Finding More Survivors Growing Dimmer, Rescue Workers Refuse To Give Up

(New York-WABC, September 14, 2001) -- There was grim news Friday night about the victims of the World Trade Center terror attack. It's been more than 48 hours since any survivors have been pulled from the rubble. Still, the effort is officially being called a search and rescue operation, although rescue workers know that with each passing hour, the odds shrink dramatically. Jim Dolan reports from lower Manhattan.

The death toll in lower Manhattan rose slowly Friday, but of course, for anybody who is holding out hope it has risen entirely too fast. The number of confirmed dead has reached 184, but that number is sure to grow as more than 4,700 people are confirmed missing. The men and women working on the pile are supported by thousands of other men and women, New Yorkers, who have come out to lend their hands, to donate tooth brushes and water and anything that people need. When they come down, they are uniformly drawn to the sky, and what is no longer there. Three and a half days later people still can't help but stare. There is a hole in the city's sky now. Some take pictures of it. Few can take their eyes from all that has been lost.

Bridget Smith, Brooklyn Resident: "When you see it on TV it's very different than when you see it in person because I just kept thinking there are people... I don't know, it's just very different when you see it in person. It just took my breath away."

Amy Crossfield, Brooklyn Resident: "We live in Brooklyn and we have a view of it from the top of our apartment building. We go up there and we sit out there because we can't see the Northern part of Manhattan from our roof, and we sit there and look at it and it's a great view, and now it just looks like regular city."

But no regular city could produce men and women visited by President Bush Friday. Through a night of rain and a day of swirling wind and dropping temperatures the heroic search for life in a mountain of grief grinds on.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York City: "Several of the family members said to me, 'please don't stop searching for people, there's still hope.' I want them to know we agree with that, there is still hope and we are not going to stop searching for people."

The mayor says he wants buses and subways to get back to something approaching normal and starting Saturday he will resume service to Wall Street. For now, he says, hospitals are beginning to breath again, which is not altogether good news.

Mayor Giuliani: "Right now we would like to have the problem of handling lots of cases of people who were injured, but we don't have that problem right now."

To continue the work in the pile it will take the bravery and determination of the rescue workers, and they are up to it.

Tom Tubin, Chaplain: "There is a combination of anguish, anger and frustration that they couldn't get in and get their comrades out. It's been very tough."

Chaplain Tom Tubin spent the day Friday on the pile with the men and women searching and hoping there. They have seen so much death and so much heartache and still they work.

Chaplain Tubin: "I listen to the youngsters talk and, 'well how much sleep did you get?' 'well I had four hours sleep.' Four hours sleep in 24, 28 hours and he's back here doing it again. Doing it with a vengeance."

Talking about the remarkable sight of what is no longer here. I spoke with the owner of a restaurant near the disaster site Friday night. His restaurant is not opened yet, but he was standing outside of it Friday night. He said he lives North of the area and had never driven as far South as the World Trade Center, said he had never seen the Bankers Trust Building and now it is all he can see when the winds shift and the smoke clears for a moment. It is a sight he had never hoped to see at all.