Miracle – Part I

Jeff Scarborough and the Bucktones along with Joe Bye and Friends will be performing on 2nd Stage at The Big Chili Cook-Off on September 11, 2011. Many locals know Jeff as a musician, but he was previously a cameraman for a news agency. We will be highlighting his story here in three parts over the next three days.

 

Miracle Amidst the Rubble

by Kristin Witt

 

It would have been a day like any day for 27-year veteran NBC cameraman, Jeff Scarborough.  He was on his way to cover a breaking story with reporter Rob Morrison, Scarborough driving as was protocol for a camera and reporter team.  It was one of the prettiest days he’d seen in a long time, and again, it would have been much like other days on the job except for two things.  Jeff Scarborough was driving to a scene in the heart of New York City and the date was September 11, 2001.

     Scarborough made his way across 49th Street onto the Westside Highway, where he pulled into a convoy of emergency vehicles, all responding to what NBC Control thought was a small plane collision into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  Pulling into the convoy of police and first responder vehicles guaranteed Jeff and his reporter premier access to the story, as they blew through lights and traffic, and in their business it was all about who got there first.  

     The convoy was about sixty seconds from the front door of the North Tower when Jeff looked up to see a football field sized hole near the top of the tower.  News came over the radio that the South Tower had been hit by a second plane, and at that moment Jeff Scarborough knew.  “They finally figured out how to bring the towers down,” he said, as he yanked his car out of the convoy and pulled back several hundred feet.

     This wasn’t the first time Jeff had been called to the World Trade Center in the midst of calamity.  In 1993 Scarborough was the one cameraman allowed into the parking garage of the North Tower after the Al-Qaeda bombing attack where eight people were killed.  He was charged with getting video of the destruction for all of the news stations during a VIP tour of the site.  He filmed as they all filed in and walked the perimeter of a building sized crater that had been left by the truck rigged for destruction.  As the group assembled in the questionably safe structure, Jeff was instructed to turn off his camera, and told that if he revealed what he was about to hear he would be jailed, and until restriction was lifted, he never told  a soul.

     The truck bomb had been placed in an area that the terrorists hoped would do enough damage to topple the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  The tour leader then explained that if the truck had been only nine feet closer to the corner support on the edge of the crater it would have destroyed the concrete pillar and the North Tower would have toppled into the South Tower bringing both buildings down.   Had this plan, and the guide assured his entourage that it was the plan, been successful more than 50,000 people would have been killed inside the towers as they came down, and close to 50,000 more in the fallout. 

     Jeff Scarborough readily admits that if, on that fateful September 11th, he had not been privy to that particular piece of information it would not have occurred to him that this was a terrorist attack and that Al-Qaeda was about to succeed in bringing the World Trade Center to the ground.

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