Travelers face uncertainty
Steamboat tourists in N.Y. escape tragedy
September 11, 2001
Steamboat Springs — A pair of Steamboat Springs travelers narrowly escaped the Tuesday’s terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers.
Jeannie Berger and Steve Evans were waiting for the elevator to the north tower’s observation deck when they heard that a plane had crashed into the side of the building, Berger’s teen-age daughter, Allison Berger, said.
Berger and Evans were able to exit the building and call Berger’s family before the first building collapsed at 9:58 eastern standard time.
Allison Berger said the family was unaware of the terrorist attack until Jeannie Berger called home at 7:42 a.m. mountain time.
Shortly after the phone call ended, the first tower collapsed. Several hours later, the second tower came down. The Berger family did not know whether Jeannie Berger survived the collapses until later that afternoon when she was able to call from her cell phone to leave a message that she was near the Hudson River watching the debris and smoke from the terrorist disaster.
“It’s pretty scary,” Allison Berger said. “I’m just glad that she is O.K.”
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Allison Berger said, even though her mother had called, she did not grasp the magnitude of the attacks until she got to school and saw news reports. At around 10:30 a.m., she said she left for home to wait to hear from her mother.
“Through the whole thing, I was thinking nobody would do that,” Allison said. “The whole school was watching the news in disbelief.”
Allison Berger said she tried to reach her mother by her cell phone, calling every five minutes, but it was impossible to get through.
Berger and Evans left Saturday to visit New York City. Allison Berger said they planned to visit many of New York’s famous sites and it was by chance that they chose to see the World Trade Center Tuesday.
“If they would have left for the World Trade Center from 10 to 20 minutes earlier, they would have been up (at the observation deck),” Allison Berger said.
Other area residents were also waiting to hear about relatives and friends close by to the terrorist attacks.
Throughout the day, school officials, clergy and businesses talked of those who were close to those scheduled to be in the World Trade Center or the New York or Washington D.C. area.
Local businesses were tracking down employees expecting to travel Tuesday.
The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. had about a dozen people on the road Tuesday, most of them making at trade shows.
Ski Corp. Vice President of Marketing Andy Wirth said his company was trying to keep in touch with those employees and exploring the possibilities for getting them back to Steamboat.
“We spent the better part of the morning accounting for our staff and making sure they weren’t touched personally by this tragedy,” Wirth said. “We’re assessing when and how we can bring them back to Steamboat.”
At TIC, a representative said only four employees were schedule to fly out of Denver International Airport, but could not leave. They rented a car to drive back to Steamboat Tuesday.
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