Disaster Struck Again As Crews Began Rescue Efforts

Crews were just beginning substantial rescue efforts in the two towers when the South Tower collapsed shortly after 10 a.m., raining debris as the massive structure seemed to implode from the center. Presumably, scores of rescue workers remain trapped inside the building along with those they were trying to rescue. The injured have been taken to some 50 hospitals in the New York region. There have been no confirmed reports on numbers of fatalities or injured as crews initially backed away following the first collapse.

The New York tragedy turned even more grave when the second tower collapsed at about 10:30 a.m. Sources say dozens of emergency vehicles, if not hundreds, were destroyed in the collapses, and there were reports that firefighters and other emergency workers trapped beneath the rubble were calling for assistance. On television, scores of fire trucks and emergency service vehicles could be seen covered in debris as images of bewildered firefighters and other emergency services personnel could be seen covered in dust, many injured and some obviously looking for their lost fellow collegues.

Within an hour of the disaster, all New York City firefighters had been recalling. Jurisdictions in the Washington, D.C. region did the same when the second jetliner plowed into the side of the Pentagon in Arlington County. There, more than a dozen alarms had been sounded, including units from more than eight surrounding jurisdications on the scene or filling nearby stations.

Rep. Ike Skelton, briefed by Pentagon officials, said, ``There appear to be about 100 casualties'' in the building.

``The fire was intense,'' Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, the Pentagon spokesman, told reporters in a makeshift briefing at a gasoline station across the street. At midday, local hospitals reported receiving 40 victims of the attack, with seven patients in critical condition admitted to one facility for treatment of burns.