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America Under Attack: Morgan Stanley Counting Blessings

Aired September 13, 2001 - 04:29   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.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: A moment ago, we showed you a portion of a taped report by mistake, but it's a remarkable story what we're seeing. A well known investment bank was headquartered at the World Trade Center, its staff might have been easy victims for the two planes which flew into the twin towers.

But, as Peter Viles reports, managers at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter are counting their blessings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The second terrorist attack was a direct hit on the office space of Morgan Stanley. The firm had 3,500 workers in 22 floors, almost exactly in the area where the second plane hit.

But incredibly, most of those employees had already fled the tower, minutes before the explosion.

PHILIP PURCELL, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY: Miraculously, I'd say, we had 2,500 people in the World Trade Center, Two thousand people in the World Trade Center Five. It appears that a vast majority got out safely.

VILES: A miracle made possible by the firm's split-second decision to evacuate the South Tower immediately after the North Tower was hit.

PURCELL: We have a lot of stories of courage, a lot of stories of compassion. And, uh, we're going to be fine.

VILES (on camera): Wall Street is a tough business where it's often said the only thing that matters is the bottom line. That is not true today. The thing that matters most to these companies is finding out exactly how many of their employees are alive today.

Peter Viles, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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