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Rescue Operations Ongoing in New York City

Aired September 12, 2001 - 05:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: More than 20 hours later, it is still seemingly unbelievable that this even happened.

CNN's Garrick Utley is live in New York with the latest on the rescue operation. Garrick, do we yet know how many people survived, how many people died?

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We can't even begin to speculate on that, Carol. The mayor, other government officials have said they're not even going to try to guess, although the figure will obviously be in the thousands. It's now just after 5 a.m., as you well know, here on the east coast of the United States, here in New York City. And this is the time that this metropolis usually starts to come to work, get up and get at it in the New York way, but not this morning. Nobody's really come into town. The streets, even at this hour, are still empty. The only sounds we heard is the occasional siren of an ambulance or a police car racing around Manhattan island.

The rescue work, as we saw just a moment ago, is continuing. It has been going on all night down at the World Trade Center sight. The generators with the flood lights were brought in. The fire department is still there, rescue workers are starting to move the rubble with a giant earth moving machine. But of course, this is going to go on for days and days.

It is really hard for many, I think, of us to understand or comprehend. What seems to have been a trauma that's been going on for an eternity has really been with us for, what, 20 hours now, but it started under such different circumstances.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): It was such a beautiful morning. The air was clear over Manhattan, the sky a rich blue. The two twin towers stood tall, anchored in bedrock of granite. So secure, so unshakable, and then...

You've seen smoke and destruction before, but we've never seen -- seen madness like this. A catastrophe like this. It was a morning when words could only begin to express the horror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a blizzard, but a blizzard that wasn't cold, a blizzard that had no wind. It was just hot. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was an enormous fireball. There was fire, debris falling to the grounds, and then just a whole kind of mushroom of smoke that sort of just billowed up.

UTLEY: We knew that some of what happened this morning could happen, that there could be another attack on the World Trade Center as there was eight years ago, that terrorists might attack the Pentagon and hijack commercial flights. But how could we imagine that all of this could happen, that much of the government would be shut down, the capitol of the United States evacuated, and the White House that the president of the most powerful nation in the world would take evasive action for his own security.

Across this nation from airports closed down, to home, to workplace, we watched and tried to comprehend what we were seeing. It took time after the shock of the terror to digest the dimension of the human tragedy. We tried to imagine what those caught in the soaring towers, in the doomed planes, in the Pentagon, went through before the end. We can only wonder what happens next.

The president vows action.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts.

I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.

UTLEY: Retaliation, even revenge, may feel sweet one day, but right now there are only the remnants of terror, the pain of the tragedy, and the tears.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera): And now there is the morning after and the days to come. And the morning newspaper, another one has reached Manhattan Island, "New York's Daily News," the largest circulating tabloid in the United States, the oldest one too.

The headline is simple, "It's War," in red letters, pictures throughout the newspaper, throughout the other journals coming out that they're sending across the country this day.

Really telling us nothing new, except that it's war. The question of course, Carol, is you know where the battleground is, it's right down here in lower Manhattan, some at the Pentagon today or yesterday. The search there continues, the question is: Where is the enemy? That's what we will be asking for days and weeks to come. Carol?

LIN: And how do we find the enemy? Thank you very much. Garrick Utley reporting from New York.

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