On August 31, 2010, it was announced that the International Center for 9/11 Studies had secured the release of hundreds of hours of video that shows the events of September 11, 2001. The videos were held by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and obtained by way of the Freedom of Information Act. The new footage was released in a file named the NIST Cumulus Video folder and includes shocking material.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were one of the most videotaped events in history. The majority of the footage comes from lower Manhattan in New York City. There was so much video captured that the Internet Archive has enough coverage to virtually replay the day. The material is extremely graphic, violent, and heart-wrenching. It shows the pain experienced in New York and the complete destruction of three high-rise structures.
For those of you who were not old enough to understand 9/11 in 2001, you can now get a sense of the day by examining the footage. This article is going to examine ten raw clips captured on 9/11, all from New York City. The videos are not edited and contain bad language, so discretion is advised.
One of the most common conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 is that the WTC buildings were destroyed by a controlled demolition. In 2006, a group named the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth movement was formed with the goal of getting the U.S. Congress to perform an independent investigation into the September 11 attacks. The group has submitted a petition with the signatures of over 1,600 professional architects, engineers, and demolition specialists who feel the evidence shows that the towers were destroyed by controlled demolition.
The current explanation is that WTC 1, WTC 2, and 7 WTC were brought down by the impact of two large airplanes, which caused the inward bowing of vital building columns. The impact of the aircraft also created large fires that buckled the buildings core. The description is plausible, but it immediately drew criticism from engineers around the world who concluded the evidence shows the buildings were demolished by explosives. Some anomalies include the “free fall acceleration of the structures, the durlateral ejection of steel, and the mid-air pulverization of concrete.”
It has been suggested that the lack of “large gradual deformations” associated with the collapse shows the buildings were brought down by controlled demolition. It has also been pointed out that the buildings fell through the “path of greatest resistance” which requires the removal of critical columns. AE911 has examined the debris from Ground Zero and discovered signs of molten iron, thermite, and unignited nano-thermite, which is evidence for highly explosive materials.
In the videos captured on 9/11, very few (if any) bombs are heard or witnessed by the camera. The best evidence for the presence of bombs on 9/11 includes a series of video interviews taken on the day of the attack. In the footage, many people can be seen describing the sound of large explosions and falling debris in the WTC. One such case is a famous clip that shows two firefighters describing three large explosions that occurred in the lobby of one of the buildings. The men are clearly distraught and the video shows the horror felt by the FDNY as they attempted to save lives on 9/11.
The Expedition 3 mission to the International Space Station was launched on August 10, 2001. It was the third expedition to the ISS and included American astronaut Frank Culbertson and Russians Mikhail Tyurin and Vladimir Dezhurov. The three men are recognized as being the only people that were not on Earth during the September 11 terrorist attacks. As the International Space Station moved over the New York City area, Culbertson captured pictures and video of lower Manhattan. The video is quite revealing and shows just how large the destruction was. It gives a good sense of exactly where the damage occurred on Earth and how influential the smoke was.
The International Space Station is potentially the most expensive item every constructed. It is the largest artificial body in orbit and can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. The station provides some of the most detailed landscape portraits of Earth and gives an amazing view. On 9/11 as Frank Culbertson was filming the damage, he gave America some assurance saying that “the city still looks very beautiful from space.” It is the only time in history that a disaster on the scale of 9/11 was filmed from space.
In the years since 9/11, a collection of first responders have experienced a wide range of respiratory problems due to the dust at Ground Zero. The first NYPD officer whose death was attributed to the toxic chemicals was James Zadroga, who passed away from respiratory illness in 2006. In the months following 9/11, Zadroga began to experience a persistent cough and extreme shortness of breath. The exact cause of his death is under dispute. However, his autopsy says he had “unidentified foreign materials” in his lungs. On January 2, 2011, President Obama signed the James Zadroga Act which allocated $4.2 billion to create the World Trade Center Health Program.
This video shows the South Tower being hit by Flight 175. It is not the best footage of the event, but is said to include an anomaly that is not witnessed in other clips. Since 9/11, there have been thousands of videos posted on the Internet with claims of strange objects around the towers. Some have pointed to orbs, bizarre helicopters, unexplained shadows, or weird lights. In this clip, a large black spot can be seen flying toward the ground at a high speed right after the plane hits the tower. You can also see a large piece of debris flying out of the North Tower. The footage is one example of the countless videos that are said to show strange activity on 9/11. View another one here.
The majority of the videos on this list show footage taken in the vicinity of the WTC. However, there are approximately 69,464 residents per square mile (26,924/km²) in New York County (Manhattan) and everyone was impacted by 9/11. After the North Tower was struck, thousands of people grabbed their video cameras and took to the streets. For this reason, an enormous amount of video footage was captured. Many of the videos have since been released to the public. However, people all over New York still have footage taken on 9/11 that has never been uploaded to the Internet or submitted to the authorities.
A couple years back a video surfaced that shows the reaction of a collection of New Yorkers who lived a short distance from the WTC. The footage was taken by a man named Chris Ryan and his brother Sean. It starts with Chris reacting to the initial attack on New York. He then travels to his house and watches the disaster from the rooftop of his apartment building with some friends. During the recording, it is revealed that one of the men on the roof worked on the 83rd floor of South Tower, which was completely destroyed by Flight 175.
The video then follows Chris as he rides his bike through the streets of New York towards the WTC. It becomes clear that the citizens of Manhattan are panicked and concerned about the possibility of another attack. It is revealed that the borough of Manhattan has been completely shut down after the second plane struck the South Tower. Toward the end of the footage, Chris captures a collection of people going about their daily activities, which is bothersome to Ryan, as he feels the city might be in further danger.
After the WTC towers collapsed it was reported that 20 people were pulled out alive from the rubble. Some of the most famous cases include police officers John McLoughlin and William Jimeno, who were on the main concourse between the two towers when the South Tower collapsed. They were saved after entering a freight elevator, but almost died from their injuries. Another incredible story is that of Genelle Guzman, who survived a fall from the 13th story of the South Tower. She was knocked unconscious during the initial crash and woke up alive in the rubble. Guzman was the last person found alive. She was discovered by a German Shepherd named Trakr 26 hours after the collapse.
This video shows the initial response to 9/11 after the towers had been struck by the aircraft. The impact caused significant damage to the streets below the buildings, which can be seen in the footage. You can also see people hanging off the towers. In one case, the tape captures a man falling to the ground. The footage is horrifying, but shows a common event that occurred on 9/11.
The video also shows a minor explosion in the tower which causes a large object to shoot out from the building. The cameraman responds by saying “did you see that blowout.” This section of the video has been reposted many times under the title of WTC exploding man, with the suggestion that the clip shows a man being blown from the tower. The video finishes with some shots of firefighters entering the buildings. Sadly, many of these workers were killed in the terrorist attacks.
One of the most popular documentaries made about September 11 is named 9/11. The movie was directed by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, and FDNY firefighter James Hanlon. The footage follows Chief Joseph Pfeifer and the 1st Battalion as they responded to the North Tower of the WTC. On the morning of 9/11, the crew was filming in the streets of New York when Airlines Flight 11 flew overhead and collided with the North Tower. As the plane crashed, Naudet turned his camera and captured the best available video of the plane hitting the tower. Actually, there are only three known clips of Flight 11 hitting the North Tower. You can view Naudet’s footage here.
After the WTC was attacked, the film crew followed the first responders into the North Tower and recorded the scene. The video is chilling and shows the reaction of the workers as the South Tower is struck by the second aircraft. The footage is some of the most raw taken on 9/11, but is often hard to locate online. For this reason, the provided copy is shaky and a bit blurry.
As the camera enters the lobby of the North Tower, you can hear people screaming and the narrator indicates that he saw people on fire, but didn’t record the individuals. The lobby seems to have sustained damage in the impact and you can see Chief Pfeifer controlling the situation. The camera then captures the aftermath of Flight 175 crashing into the South Tower and debris can be seen dropping to the ground. Firefighters in the North Tower recognize that people are falling from the South Tower into the streets, which was a dangerous situation. The falling people caused Chief Pfeifer to order all the firefighters to stay in the lobby.
The next part of the video shows a loud explosion followed by the collapse of a section of the lobby. The entire picture goes black and the firefighters are forced to attempt to escape the rubble. People are killed in the collapse and Chief Pfeifer can be seen ordering the evacuation of the building, which saved many lives. The footage is intense and has been used by some to show evidence for explosives in the basement of the WTC (as you can tell by the name of the video). However, others feel the destruction was caused by falling debris, sonic booms, or Flight 11.
One of the largest conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 is the sudden collapse of the 7 WTC, which was a 47-story building that fell at 5:20 p.m. The building contained the emergency operations center for the city of New York in case of a disaster. In the aftermath of the attack on New York, 7 WTC sustained heavy damage and was evacuated. A collection of New York officials responded to the building as planned, but found it empty. Two of these people were named Barry Jennings and Michael Hess. Sadly, both of these men have since died, but during the last years of their lives, Hess and Jennings proclaimed that they experienced a large explosion while fleeing 7 WTC. The story was supported by a video released by the NIST which shows Hess yelling from the 8th floor of 7 WTC, apparently unable to leave the building. Watch the video here.
Unfortunately, the conspiracy theories surrounding 7 WTC were allowed to spread for seven years before the NIST released a statement on the cause of the disaster. The report indicates that the building experienced a complete failure after several fires buckled critical structural columns and caused the 13th floor to collapse. The collapse triggered a failure of column 79, which caused floors 8 to 14 to give way, followed by the east penthouse and the entire building.
Despite the explanation, many professional engineers feel the claims don’t provide scientific evidence for a complete failure. 7 WTC is the first and only steel framed high rise building to collapse from fire damage. In order to account for the free fall of the structure, the building must have experienced a near-simultaneous buckling of 58 perimeter columns and 25 core columns over eight stories. The scientific model that the NIST used to explain the failure is not available to the public because of U.S. national security concerns. The collapse was also reported twenty minutes early by BBC anchor Jane Standley.
The NIST report considered the possibility that 7 WTC was destroyed by explosives, but concluded that “the use of thermite to sever columns was unlikely.” The investigation was not allowed to use any physical evidence from Ground Zero because the material was lost and could not be positively identified. The report cited evidence that no blasts were heard in videos of the collapse, as well as the fact that no explosions were witnessed. People have responded by posting videos online that are said to include the sound of bombs. The selected clip shows the collapse of 7 WTC, including the clear failure of the east penthouse. This particular clip has gained notoriety because someone has edited out the penthouse collapse in some copies, making for multiple versions.
After the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the Cumulus Database of 6500 video clips, people were left with a huge collection of information that didn’t have much organization. For this reason, individual clips have emerged over the years that show important details. One of the most famous is a video taken by a man right after the South Tower collapsed. In the footage, the cameraman shows no fear for his life and runs directly into the rubble in order to give the world a glimpse of the horror.
The video starts just after the South Tower gave way. The cameraman moves toward Ground Zero and begins to interview people in an attempt to figure out what happened. He then enters the 7 World Trade Center building, which shows significant signs of damage and blown out windows. The lobby of 7 WTC is destroyed and filled with dust. The footage inside of 7 WTC was used by 9/11 researchers to help calculate how much damage was sustained to the building during the collapse. However, the majority of critical damage sustained to 7 WTC on 9/11 was caused by the failure of the nearby North Tower.
The cameraman then goes directly toward the South Tower to Ground Zero. The footage includes some of the first pictures taken of the damage. The sound of running water and creaking metal can be heard. After a short time, the video captures the tail end of the collapse of the North Tower. People can be seen sprinting from the dust cloud, while the cameraman just stands there in shock. The footage includes some of the most revealing scenes taken on 9/11. It runs for the first 30 minutes of the included 55 minute long video.
At 9:58 EDT on September 11, 2001 the South Tower of the WTC collapsed and created an enormous gray-white cloud of pulverized concrete and gypsum that moved through the streets of New York. After the collapse, people near the towers were unsure of what happened because they couldn’t see the buildings. However, it soon became clear that most everything was gone. Like no other event in history, thousands of people were killed without a trace.
Farther away from ground zero, people with cameras watched in horror as the South Tower tumbled to the ground. The people immediately understood the magnitude of the tragedy, which caused panic and shock. After the tower collapsed, the entire event reached a higher level of uncertainty. Some felt the people of New York were under attack.
On 9/11, the collapse of the South Tower was captured on video by dozens of different people. The footage selected shows a group of individuals watching the collapse from a good distance away. The cameraman is not in danger of getting covered by the concrete cloud, but you can feel the reaction of the crowd as the building falls. Some conspiracy theorists have latched on to the footage claiming it shows evidence for molten iron on the South Tower moments before the collapse. You can watch another chilling video of the collapse here.
One of the most chilling events of 9/11 was when Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. The force of the plane caused the tower to collapse 56 minutes after impact and the crash was captured by hundreds of video cameras that were focused on the North Tower. The footage clearly shows the plane hitting the tower at a high speed. It was the first time in history that a large number of news anchors reported on such an influential event as it happened on live television. Some proclaimed on TV that the impact provided evidence for a coordinated terrorist attack.
When Flight 175 collided with the South Tower, all 60 people on board the plane were instantly killed. The video shows the aircraft making a sharp left turn before hitting the building. If the turn had not been carried out, the plane would have missed the tower or clipped the building with one wing. During the aircrafts decent, passengers on the left side of the plane had a clear view of the WTC. Some attempted to make cell phone calls, which revealed that both pilots had been killed and a flight attendant had been stabbed. The final moments of Flight 175 are covered in a documentary titled Flight 175: As the World Watched.
A large number of videos of the crash show a close-up view of Flight 175 slamming into the building, while other clips show the impact from a distance. For this article I have focused on a compilation clip that does a great job showing a series of different videos taken of the crash. You can see the plane and explosion from almost every angle. I will also include a video of some men watching the crash in horror from a downtown apartment building. It shows that some people of Middle Eastern heritage were also shocked and disturbed by the violence. You can view the footage here. You can also watch the best available clip of the crash in slow motion here.