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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: The Fifth Survivor

Aired September 27, 2001 - 06:52   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: Days upon days of digging and searching the charred and mangled metal that was once the World Trade Center has produced 5 survivors. Thousands are presumed dead right now, which makes the story of survivors so much more amazing.

CNN's Gary Tuchman talked with the fifth person who was rescued.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five people have been found alive in the wreckage of the World Trade Center complex. Gennelle Guzman was the last of the five.

(on camera): Gennelle, tell me how you're feeling right now.

GENNELLE GUZMAN, SURVIVOR OF WTC ATTACK: I'm feeling a bit -- more of a relief that its over, but still a bit scared.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): When the 757 crashed through the first tower, Gennelle, an employee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was on the 64th floor. She says instructions were given on the loudspeaker.

GUZMAN: They said stay put. Everything will be all right. Everything's under control.

TUCHMAN (on camera): So they told you everything's OK? Don't leave the building.

GUZMAN: Don't leave until further instructions. I was scared.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): After more than an hour, Gennelle and 14 coworkers decided they'd better evacuate.

GUZMAN: We were passing firemen who were coming up the stairways, and then were going down. And they were just saying, you know, keep on the side, be careful, and stuff like that.

And I and my girlfriend were holding hands all the way down. And when we reached the 13th stairs, I asked her to take off my shoes. I told her to hold my shoes. And then, boom.

TUCHMAN: The boom was the building imploding. Gennelle, who had made it to the 13th floor, flew through the darkness, still holding her friend's hand.

GUZMAN: We fell to the ground. We were still together, and then she kind of moved away, and I moved away, and then everything started crumbling faster and heavier, and I just stood there. Everything was just falling. I just stood in a corner and everything just keep falling.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What happen to your girlfriend?

GUZMAN: I don't know.

TUCHMAN: She's still missing?

GUZMAN: Still missing.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gennelle found herself buried under rubble in utter silence.

GUZMAN: And then I go to move my head, and my head was stuck between the two concrete pillars, and I couldn't get it out. I tried to move my legs, and all the concrete from the staircase had my legs stuck. I couldn't move my legs.

TUCHMAN: At first, she just prayed.

(on camera): You were there for 27 hours, right? With no food, no water. Did you start yelling for people to come find you?

GUZMAN: Yeah.

TUCHMAN: And no one heard you?

GUZMAN: No one heard me on that day, the Tuesday. No one heard.

TUCHMAN: And did you think you were never going to get out of there alive?

GUZMAN: Yeah, I think I was going to die. When I saw that it become dark and no one came, and I'm not hearing any noises, nobody around, I thought I'm not going to make it. I'm going to die here. I'm going to see myself slowly die here.

TUCHMAN: The 31-year-old fell asleep, and then shortly after 12 noon the next day...

GUZMAN: I asked God to show me a miracle, or show me a sign that I'm going to get out of here today or the next day, and it so happened that I heard noises, like people moving stuff. And I yelled out, and someone answered back, and then I yelled again, and someone did answer. They told me, "well, do you see the light?" I couldn't see any light. They were flashing their lights, I guess. I couldn't see any light.

And then I took a piece of concrete and I knocked the stair above me, and then they heard a knocking. And then they started to come closer. And I put my hand through a little crack in the ceiling, like, in the wall, and I felt the person hold my hand. They finally found my hand. And he said, "I got you."

And I said, "Thank God."

TUCHMAN: All 14 of Gennelle's coworkers are presumed dead. Her legs were partially crashed, and she suffered multiple abrasions to her face, torso and hands. But Gennelle is out of danger.

GUZMAN: I look at it on TV everyday, and just get a lot on my mind, but I don't have nightmare about it. I think I pray too much and just keep thanking God.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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